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I was on ebay today, trying to list an item – and After completing their rather long page of a thousand options, and clicking ‘next’ (or whatever it is), I get an error message saying “Feature not available”.   No mention of which feature, or what it was that I was trying to do and which part of it was incompatible.  A completely useless and frankly annoying error message.  Two things annoy:

  1. Providing NO CONTEXT so I can’t rectify the mistake (see 2 below)
  2. Making it seem like its user error when (in this case) it wasn’t.

I understand why error messages like these persist – because coders who build sites don’t think about end users – but really, in this day and age, are we to let that be an excuse?  Sometimes the technology in play doesn’t allow for an error code to be sent back, and a bespoke error message provided – meaning you get a ‘general error’ error. Again – can we really accept this?

I don’t really need a cheeky “Oops, something went wrong”, cheeky piece of nonsense as a message either – just tell me what went wrong, if it was (truly) my fault, how I can correct it. If its the website fault (technical problem) – tell me, and tell me that my activity has been saved and I won’t waste my time continuing.

Such an easy way to lose a user’s confidence, considering the fix is pretty obvious too  – it’s criminal these things are allowed.