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:
bq. 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”:http://www.askdavetaylor.com/how_do_i_turn_on_wlan_on_my_sony_psp.html 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:
bq. 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.