Almost useless


Message stating "Failed to install updated." Title bar is "Microsoft AutoUpdate"

Source: Microsoft

An interesting example of an almost useless message.

The message tells me that it’s from “Microsoft AutoUpdate” – so at least I know it’s something to do with Microsoft.

It also tells me “Failed to install update.” This is less useful. What update? Why did it fail? What can I do about it?

Messages like this are very egocentric. Microsoft assumes that their application (or driver, or whatever it is that’s failed to update) is at the forefront of my mind and that I know what it is. But it isn’t and I don’t.

Messages like this are damaging to the brand. I see this one frequently, and it annoys me frequently, and each time I see it I like Microsoft less.

Error messages matter. They are an essential form of communication with the user. They say something important. In this case, the message is saying that Microsoft really doesn’t care what’s happened, and that I’m on my own.

Furthermore, the lack of a button means that I have to click the little “dismiss” icon at top left to get rid of the message.

Oddly enough, the only reason I turned on AutoUpdate for Microsoft products was that I was so annoyed by the dialog box prompting me to check for updates immediately after I’d completed a manual update.

Perhaps Microsoft can argue that the message “belongs” to the MacOS and is somehow Apple’s responsibility or fault.

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