Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Back in the ‘early’ days of the interweb – you know when there were plenty of ‘Under Construction’ notes on pages – I was already irritated by the fact that after filling out the occasional form on a site, say to register for some service, you’d often get to a ‘Congratulations’ page. As in those days interactivity on the web was mild and looked quite special and sophisticated from the outside, I figured that things would get better once those pages were a properly designed part of a web site rather than just bits added to the site as an afterthought by the programmer who implemented the script doing the actual work.

But the web is still full of pages ‘congratulating’ you to whatever you have done. To me this always reads like We expect our users to be so dumb that we think we’d better give them a big bunch of positive feedback when they managed to type their (or at least any) name. So I feel insulted. On better days I am not insulted but just take those ‘Congratulations!’ as self-congratulatory remarks made by the programmers who are happy that their script actually managed to acquire the data I entered and transfer it without deleting or breaking it.

Of course there could be thousands of additional readings of that word: Congratulations, for choosing our great service, Congratulations for having the stamina to sit all the way through our endless and broken signup process, and so on – but none of them actually deals with anything congratulation-worthy on my side of things.

One of the few places where a ‘Congratulations’ message seems appropriate is when you receive a present. An iTMS gift voucher, say. And – sure enough – Apple managed to screw that up in their German store by using what looks like graphics for text with a distinct lack of transparency. I first saw that problem many months ago and it really drives home the impression that there are exactly 0 people in Apple actually ‘eating their own dog food’ and caring for localisations. Classy:

'Herzlichen Glückwunsch' displayed by the iTunes Music Store

January 6, 2007, 0:04

Tagged as software.


Comment by Adam Watkins: User icon

Now you mention it, it does seem unpleasantly chatty and personal. Do you think that ‘Thank You’ is better?

January 6, 2007, 13:37

Comment by ssp: User icon

For usual signups definitely.

But perhaps it’d be even better to just cut the crap and send the user straight to his freshly created account. Often I find it quite frustrating that you have to manually log into your account just after entering all the details. It’d definitely be a nice touch to get straight into the account without any extra hassle.

January 8, 2007, 13:18

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Received data seems to be invalid. The wanted file does probably not exist or the guys at last.fm changed something.