What is it about “Web 2.0” sites that they feel the need to wrap error (or unavailable) messages in all manner of flowery nonsense? In the past, technorati has often returned a spurious message about the monster escaping and now it seems Flikr has followed suit.
Now, I am sure I am not alone in thinking that is a lot less than an I would normally think of as an answer. If you follow the link to the Flickr Blog page you get some more details, but surely that defeats the point of having the error message?
Not to long ago, every site which considered itself trendy had “doorway” pages, which were normally little more than a flash animation or a “cool” (i.e. crap) logo which they wanted visitors to look at before they got into the site. This lasted a very short time (although there are still sites which do this…) and very quickly people realised that it was madness. When people visit a site, they expect to see the site – not some artistic nonsense. That error message is basically useless. It tells you nothing about what is going on and forces you to continue to visit more pages just to find out what the problem is. What lunatic thinks this is “usability?”
Likewise, when people see an error message they expect to be told what the error is, not some attempt to be trendy and humanise the website. This is what the blog says:
UPDATE@11:50pm: Still going smoothly. Looks like we might finish up a few minutes early.
UPDATE@ 9:40pm: Flickr’s now down and busy bees are switching and racking and installing and setting up. All proceeding wel!
Tonight at 9pm (San Francisco time – view in your local time) Flickr will be down for maintenance for up to four hours. We apologize for the length of this downtime, but we’re making some big changes which will enable us to roll out new features faster. So … it’ll be worth it!
As usual, photos will still be served, but you won’t be able to access Flickr site or API. We’ll post here once we start and when we’re ready to come back up. Thank your for your patience!
Now how hard would it have been to put that on the previous page?