Monthly Archives: August 2009

Awesome errors

Yeah, I know, it sounds like an oxymoron. But then you run across something like this:

Firefox failing to recover last session

First, it starts with an apology. Well, not exactly, the text is “Well, this is embarrassing.” But it’s funnier than “sorry”, and a lot of software that says “sorry” usually also throws its hands up in the air and give up on trying to help you.

It then expands on why the situation is embarrassing. “Firefox is having trouble recovering your windows and tabs.” That feature comes into play not only when you ask Firefox to save your session, but also when Firefox crashes – so there’s a good chance we just ran in to an error while trying to recover from a previous error.

Finally, “This is usually caused by a recently opened web page.” Ah, more information. This might help me avoid the issue in the future. I doubt that the cause was a web page in this case; it was probably more due to my whole laptop locking up for so long I got bored and did a hard reset. :-)

Then it gives you an option: try recovering some of your session. Maybe you just wrote the perfect blog post, or tweet, or what have you, and you would really hate to lose it. Granted, there’s a possibility that one of the tabs you want to recover is the one that caused the problem, but clearly Firefox is putting in some effort, trying to help you.

There’s an article that sort of explains why I’m feeling so happy about this, but I can’t find it. I think it was by Joel Spolsky. Anyhoo, the gist is, when your customer encounters an error in your product and you own up, and then handle the situation really well, the customer will actually like you and your product more than they would have if the error never happened.

Firefox handled this in a way that made me like it more. Well done, Mozilla. :-)