Posts Tagged ‘human factors’

Unusual Lightroom Error

August 17, 2009
Failed to Find a Place?

Failed to Find a Place?

Here’s an error message I haven’t seen before. Maybe it was because I was starting a new Import while Lightroom was Rendering 1:1 Previews of the prior Import. So much for multi-tasking. I waited until the task finished, tried again and it was fine.

I wonder what it was trying to tell me. I cannot see it was a file system problem – NTFS is rock solid. It must have been something like it could not get a database lock on the catalog.

Unlike the “A non-empty name must be provided” error I got last week, this error must have been through Human Factors who came up with someting less intimidating but unfortunately also meaningless.

The writer forgot the cardinal rule of error messages: tell the user what do to about the error.

Unfriendly Lightroom

August 9, 2009

I was adding yet another keyword to my Lightroom catalog this evening and inadvertently typed one too many commas in the Synonym text entry box:

An extra comma

An extra comma

When I clicked on “Create” Lightroom gave me an error (labeled a Warning) that only a programmer could have created:

Lightroom Warning Non-Empty Name

What’s a photographer meant to make of that?

Of course I’m a Computer Scientist, so I know these things. The engineer who wrote the code to validate the new keyword parsed the Synonyms and found two consecutive delimiters (the CS word for a comma). That’s the error message she chose to display. She probably wrote compilers before she got the job with Adobe.

I’m surprised a Human Factors engineer didn’t catch it and ask her to do something more user friendly. For example, she could silently discard the extra comma. I can always edit the tag later. Or if that’s anathema then she could tell me what is wrong in Plain English and offer to a) correct the error by removing the extra comma or b) sending me back to do it myself.

At least she didn’t label the error dialog box “Syntax Error”.

It’s a tiny point, but I am waiting for pictures to upload to Picassa Web. While I was waiting I was adding some new car models to my keyword list in the hope I’ll see them some day in Thailand.