Coffee machines & Error messages

Coffee beans

There is a new coffee machine in the office and it looks like a space age gadget.  With the new coffee machine in place the trusted old coffee machine was abondend/retired for a short duration. The old coffee machine made a great come back by engineers popular demand. ( Is there a managements truth here? )

There is a reson why the old coffee machine was so popular among the engineers. It had pretty simple interface and most of all the error messages were clear. So everybody knew what to do when things go bad. For example when the container gets filled with the grounded beans, the old machine says

Empty the drawer

For the same condition the new coffee machine says

Ground beans full

The message “Empty the drawer” is simple and to the point. You have to empty the drawer to get the fresh cup of coffee again but the message “Ground beans full” is not direct and message is not clear and ambiguous. It is not asking the user to empty the drawer. I first thought that the grounded beans are full and I am going to get fresh cup of coffee now, only to wait for eternity.

We humans are designed to understand simple and directed message, I hope programmers/designers understand this and write/design more simple and direct error messages in future.

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5 Responses to “Coffee machines & Error messages”


  1. 1 coffee pods March 6, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Hey! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from an established blog.

    Is it hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty
    quick. I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not
    sure where to begin. Do you have any tips or suggestions?
    Many thanks

  2. 2 Kristopher June 15, 2013 at 8:21 am

    I’m no longer positive where you’re getting your information,
    but good topic. I must spend some time studying more or figuring out more.
    Thank you for great info I was in search of this
    information for my mission.

  3. 3 Karthi July 13, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    Ankur, that may be good for novels but not for error messages…

    Yogi. People are divided on the taste of the coffee..

  4. 4 Yogi - Coffee Maker Reviewer July 10, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Was it more to do with the taste of the Coffee from your new machine not being at par to your old coffee maker??? We coffee lovers are a fussy lot when it comes to our coffees….:-)

  5. 5 Ankur Aggarwal July 10, 2008 at 7:28 am

    sometimes u can raise the importance of an task by mystefying it


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