I typed in an incorrect password in Hotmail, and after several attempts to figure out what was wrong, I finally looked for and read the error message.
My first gripe is that the error message should have been more visible, as I only looked for it when I began to get frustrated. Instead of resolving the issue after 1 or 2 attempts, I entered the password 5-10 times before I looked to see if there was another way of overcoming my problem – not being able to log into my email account.
However, when I did find the error message, it contained a little gem that helped me to resolve my problem quickly.
“Be sure you’re using the password for your Microsoft account”
It sounds silly, but it made me stop and think momentarily. I had been typing in my Microsoft password, but an old password that I was forced to change a few weeks ago.
On the next attempt, I got the password right.
The error message could have been one of a thousand commonly used messages, such as:
“incorrect password, please try again.”
How many times would someone try and continue to get frustrated?
“you have xx number of tries before your account is locked”
Again very frustrating. The list could go on and on.
But the messaging in Microsoft’s example helped to resolve my issue quickly by thinking like a human and trying to jog my memory.
It would be interested to see the stats regarding how this “clue” affected the number of users not having to go through the lost password procedure.