Sample UX copy based on a real-life error message

As the headline said, this sample copy is based on a real-life UX message that appeared in my dad’s Ford Focus.

What happened was that once time, while I was sitting in the passenger seat, this message appeared suddenly on the infotainment display:

confusing car infotainment message

Although it’s not technically confusing as the Code 500 example, the first thing that popped up in my head was this:

“This UX copy needs significant improvements.”

The Problems

Specifically, right of the bat, I could identify not one, but TWO areas that needed improvment:

1. What does “something” mean?

That’s not a deep philosophical question – all this error message says is that “something went wrong.”

It does not however explain the following:

  • Where the problem is found
  • What the problem is

In other words, it’s the complete opposite of what good UX copy is supposed to do.

2. What happens when the user presses the “OK” button?

Although the bright green color of the button gives some connotation of positive action, it’s unclear as to what happens when the user presses the “OK” button. 

Does it actually send an error report to the car’s ECU, or does it just ignore the error message as if nothing happened?

The Solution

While I could never figure out the reason why the original error message appeared in my dad’s car that day, for the sake of this project, we’ll assume that a failed Bluetooth connection caused it.

Specifically, one that looks like this:

1: The user is trying to connect their phone or another Bluetooth-compatible device to the car’s infotainment system

2: The infotainment system can’t make the connection

Based on that, the end result looks like this:

improved car infotainment error message

Although the “OK” button remains unchanged, there are many significant copy improvements to this version of the error message.

First and foremost, the official Bluetooth logo has been added to the prompt window.

With this logo present, there’s no need to include the term “Bluetooth” in the header (or anywhere else in the copy) – as soon as they see the logo, the user knows that the error message is related to Bluetooth.

Below the header, there’s a clear step-by-step guide about things they can try to solve the connection problem.