I recently upgraded from my well-loved but aging Game Boy Advance to a shiny new Playstation Portable. However, although the hardware itself is impressive, it suffers from some challenging usability issues.
For example, when I tried to set it up to connect to my wi-fi network the unit displayed the error message:
Your WLAN switch is not turned on.
"My WLAN switch? What the hell is that — something to do with my router?" were my initial thoughts.
It was only after I did some searching on the internet that I learned that a WLAN switch is exactly that — a little switch on the side of the PSP that you have to move to the 'on' position in order to access a network.
More interestingly, I also discovered that I was by no means alone in having no idea what this cryptic error message was referring to. Many thanks to Dave Taylor for writing a post on this subject with an actual image of what the PSP's WLAN switch looks like.
Check out the comments to the post to see how frustrating this issue has been to a lot of people.
What I find annoying is that Sony could have so easily prevented this from becoming a problem for people by making their error message more user-friendly. How about:
Your PSP's WLAN switch is not turned on. (Hint: It's on the left hand side of your PSP)
It's not like they had no room to add a few more words. I can't wait to see what other 'useful' error messages I will encounter.
I guess the PSP designers never read Defensive Design for the Web, which has great information on how to write useful error messages and pages.
Posted on: January 5, 2007 | 1 Comment