User Interface Message Design
What the users see on the screen is all his user interface. At times, we dilute (or forget) that user interface is not just blocks, buttons, forms, and images. Text labels and feedback messages are also integral to the experience, and they too need to be designed and (even better,) orchestrated!
End-users can be easily embarrassed or frustrated, first with committing an error, and then facing a cold, blunt error message. Let’s “reward” them with “designed” messages that really contribute – at least to their moods. Sometimes it’s just about a timely dynamism, displaying something of direct relevance at the appropriate time.
First know your audience, then employ wit, humor, pun, flattery, metaphors, sarcasm – all the smarts it takes to design a crisp and impactful messaging. And run it by the audience; go back and iterate the cycle. In fact, this exercise should begin at the start of the user interface design, during the user experience and usability analysis phase. Doing this will even help imagine the graphical elements and colors required to augment user’s emotional response to the user interface. It’s all about conversation, a dialogue. A personal touch is bound to have a longer buy-in.
Let’s walk through some real examples that can inspire us to embrace the slightly casual and bold messaging approach that many young guns and old lions have taken.
While registering for Yahoo Mail, if you mistakenly enter a birth date that’s in future…
Balsamiq Mockups helps you prepare Dinner if you reach out their “Help” menu.
Etsy calmly asks you if you’re talking to yourself again, if you start a conversation and have only your Email address. The “again” part is a killer!
GMail throws exclamation back to you when you try punctuation in your user name.
Flattery is indeed beautiful, proves Buffer.
Snooze enough? Now wake up! Hootsuite knows of our multi-tab browsing habit.
iContact shows “crazy” upside-down behavior if you try to visit a page that’s not there!
Microsoft tries to guide you if you land up on an unknown territory.
Craigslist shouts about Craig’s inability to match your typing speed, when you over-enthusiastically enter items.
Expedia is direct and prompt – nice example of persuasion technique.
#12 Google Calendar
Nice usability – Google Calendar displays today’s date on the browser Tab favicon.
Very informative and handy messaging for iPad book readers, especially when you’re about to hit the sack!
Even the Captcha is relevant to the platform – either a celebrity or movie name. Wonderful connect.
This post describes the humor angle Everyday uses for their registered users.
On changing password, Twitter shouts “Woo hoo” and reminds you of the number of applications that “spy” on you with your approval of course. (Spy is the word I would have designed here actually!)