We all laud Flickr for its human and quirk on screen voice. However there is a caveat when being cute, “You still have to work, damn it.” I am so sick of seeing Gmail’s message

Oops…the system was unable to perform your operation

If you’re broken, you’re broken, don’t try to soften the blow with cutesy “Oops”. Funny the first time, tolerable maybe the 5th time, but now that I’ve seen that damn message thousands of times I personally want to shoot the person who wrote it. Somewhere, somehow I’m going to find some time to do an evaluation of RoundCube (I hear speed works great for working all night?), and figure out what would be required to add “conversation” support. Because this is just unacceptable.

I think I’d summarize this as a design maxim:

Before software can be good at being human, it must first be good at being software

And frankly Gmail is failing that.