otsukare Thoughts after a day of work

Usability Of Browsers Error Messages

Last week, I was visiting family and often in this case, I help with a few questions with regards to computers. This includes why is it slow, what should I do with this type of messages, etc. Most common people do not know a lot about computers and how it is working. And it is not mandatory for them to have to know about them.

This example is taken from Firefox, but this basically more or less the same for every browsers. Just to be clear that I'm not targeting any browsers specifically. It just happened that this user was using Firefox. The person was receiving the following message:

Modal window

Basically, a script taking time to execute or stalled. The thing is that the user doesn't know what a script is, why is it stalled or even what differences it makes to stop or continue. This is not a helpful message.

One of the issues we have with our browsers is that there are mostly tools for geeks and we are still very far from something easy to use for most people. We can do better. Browsers should be simple and without too much disturbance for users by default. And they should allow for an hidden preference to activate the geek mode with all messages, developer tools, etc.