Re: Witless idiots
I've often been bemused by the way people can never remember what the error message said. What is it that turns intelligent people into witless idiots when using a computer? I think the problem is risk avoidance.
Using a computer involves continuous risk. You do something wrong and disaster ensues. This even applies to expert technical users; they're are better at managing the risk and they expect to be able to recover from disasters, but if you crank up the unfamiliarity they'll eventually be paralysed by risk aversion, too.
Remember the old systems that used to beep whenever you made any kind of mistake, however trivial? Anyone who worked with one of those will have been conditioned to avoid the beep at any cost. The error message, however friendly, is a similar mark of failure. Users just want to get it off screen and out of mind as soon as possible.