Wild Error Messages

Learning from failure


  • What's a wild error?
  • Some examples of Wild Errors
  • Why photograph Wild Errors?
  • What can be learned from Wild Errors
  • Capturing errors yourself
  • Strategies for Wild Errors

Same gradient fill

Same close button

Mouse Cursor

What can we learn from just this picture

  • OS
    • Likely windows 2000 - with mouse (?)
  • Local file system
    • which stores logs
  • Updated through some update process
    • Runs on top of ATM Process
  • OS not restricted to a single process
    • multiple copies of update process started
    • How about other software? Keylogger?
  • Photographs on public property (road/footpaths etc)
  • You can be asked not to take photographs
  • No Photography could be a condition of entry
  • If you're asked to stop taking photos - stop taking photos
  • Photography on private property (shops etc)
  • Some restrictions around photography in law courts,
    MOD installations etc.


  • Who needs to know about the error
    • Public / Developers
  • Use Appropriate language for the audience
    • Avoid jargon
  • Consider what data is exposed through messages
  • Help users resolve their issue
  • Is it even worth showing an error to the user?
  • Philips Hue Bulbs
  • Integrates with
    • ​Jenkins, Travis
    • Uptime Robot
    • Sentry
  • ​In the event of server errors
    • ​User given options (home, search) -
    • Sentry record written
    • Bulb = Red
  • Things break
    • Have a strategy on how to deal with them
  • Consider your audience
    • Accessibility
    • Language
  • Error Collection services can help:
    • Display useful error to the user
    • Send technical data to developers
  • Broken Image by Jhonatan from the Noun Project
  • Backgrounds by unsplash