29 January 2015 | LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a professional networking service which I use for… I am really not sure why I use it.
Well, I wanted to add an announcement for a local event in one of the groups to which I belong. I struggled a bit to find the groups. I remember that groups were shown somewhere at the bottom of my profile. The LinkedIn team has moved these groups to an Interests menu. The groups page is a whole story of its own, so I will not go into details.
I got redirected to the home page with a message on top “There was an unexpected problem that prevented us from completing your request.” Plus a totally unrelated text below that Dropbox Dublin are hiring for a solution architect.
This is where I started: I clicked the 2 updates link hoping to open the group.
This is where I ended up.
- Not true. The problem was expected. If they did not expect it, they would not have prepared a message. It is more likely that the developers do not know what happened.
- Not for me. The word “request’ puzzles me. I do not remember making any requests, I just clicked a link. So maybe clicking a link is a request. I think that the message is designed for developers and other folks who know how the technology works: a request was sent to the server, but there was something, an “unhandled exception” quite likely, that prevented the completion of the request…
- Too strong. The word “problem” is quite strong here. How serious is this problem? The red color and the X sign in front suggest that the problem must be serious. I have been taught over the years that red+X = critical.
- No next step. What am I supposed to do now?
- Not there. I am not at the page where I started. I have now lost my context. This is like entering a hotel, climbing the stairs to the 4th floor, walking down the corridor, and then when you try to enter room 46, you find yourself in the hotel lobby. This is something that you see in movies with psychic plots. I hope the back button works.
Overall, the message is useless and unnecessarily complicated and scaring.
Quick and dirty: Change the background color and icon to something less critical in appearance. Change the text to tell me something of the kind “This click did not work. We do not know why. Go back and try again.”
Design for humans: Do not show a message. I am not interested in how the technology works. Keep me at the page where I was. Refresh it if necessary. If after the click nothing happens, I will click again. If this was a glitch, by the second click, it will be gone.