cellear's picture

Web developers are used to seeing messages like this when there's a misconfiguration:

Screenshot of an error message from a misconfigured Backdrop site.

Messages like this don't bother experienced developers, but they scare the crap out of non-nerds.  The kind of people that may have inherited a site at the non-profit they are working at, or who may be trying to set up something for their startup business or club, or who may be trying to create an informative resource about something they care about.  You know -- OUR KIND OF PEOPLE!  The people Backdrop is trying to serve.

Let's do better by them.

This initiative proposal suggests that we can make site crashes be a little less bloody.  Look at the screen shot above.  To even get there, we've already run hundreds -- perhaps thousands? -- of lines of code.  Can't we be a little more reassuring?  Instead of that jargon dump, say something like:

Oops! That didn't work out so well, but don't worry, we'll get the site back.  Take a breath, have a glass of water, then try these steps: 

  1. blah blah blah
  2. blah blah
  3. Blah?  blah blah blah."

We can still include the needed information here somewhere, but maybe we can hide it somewhere where it can be found by somebody that understands what it means, without terrifying people that don't.  Failing that, at least format it so that it's less intimidating.



Great idea. I support this.