Usability and error messages

The Bloglines Plumber

I’m using Bloglines as my RSS reader. I like the fact that it is independent of the computer I use and that it lets me keep a list of clips and a blog of links that I can follow up later.

Today when I tried to access it the site was down for maintenance. Bloglines seem to have systems that let them maintain and keep the service running without having to take it down often, but today they apparently had to take it down for a short while.

What kind of message they give to their users while the system is down is an important part of their communication with their users. And I admit it. I am used to such horrible messages of “Error-whatever-please-come-back-later” that I actually get charmed by messages like this one:

Hi,

I’m the Bloglines Plumber. Bloglines is down for a little fixer upper. We will be back shortly. Bloglines will be all better when I’m done with it.

Thanks,
The Bloglines Plumber

The result of such a communication? Well, the downtime doesn’t bother me at all. Simple as that.

Usability and error messages

3 thoughts on “Usability and error messages

  1. Right. Not much differ the charming from the simply stupid.

    I actually haven’t seen the Bloglines plumber before and I guess I was charmed by that fact that it is more entertaining than a simple “check back later”-message…

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