When clicking “OK” on an error message on a computer or phone, it’s easy to instinctively dismiss the message and then later wonder what it said.
Unfortunately, the moment has passed, and there’s usually no way to read the message again!
This is especially true with phones, since an error message typically takes over the entire screen while it is displayed, making it impossible for a user to just put the error message into a corner and deal with it later (or never).
All logged errors on a computer could be sent to the user by physical mail (as in Figure 1), as follows:
- An error occurs on a system
- The system sends the error and the user’s postal address over the Internet to Errors-by-Mail, a hypothetical hip startup in the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Errors-by-Mail prints the error message and puts it in a regular envelope, then puts it in the mail.
A few days later, the user has a hard copy of any error that occurred on their system. The user can then re-read this message at their leisure.
PROS: Supports “Big Printer,” lets users easily keep a physical record of any problems with their computer or phone.
CONS: Postage could add up. But perhaps this is a positive feature, as it would encourage users to never do anything that might generate an error.