Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Why displaying proper error messages does matter

February 18th, 2013 No comments

Jakob Nielsen wrote guidelines on error messages a long time ago, yet some products still fail to see value in displaying user friendly error messages, which not only communicate what is really going on but also educates the user on how to fix the problem.

Last night I was trying to create an account on Spotify using their iOS app and I was presented this error:


Considering this screenshot, what could be the causing the problem? Here are some ideas:

1) My username was already taken

2) My age (set to 110, to see what kind of music recommendations that would give to a 110 year old gentleman)

3) My password (which contained special characters and/or could have non explained restrictions like length or format)

4) Server problems

There is a fifth idea that can’t be derived from the screenshot:

5) My location according to my IP address (I know that Spotify is available only in some countries)

What would you try first?

Since I’m currently located in Brazil, I decided to go for the last option first and used VyprVPN to connect to a VPN located in Austin, TX. Could it fix my problem?



So, facing such a generic error message could have driven me away from their product. They could lose a new potential paying customer or even more if I told my friends that their service sucks (note: Spotify rocks and I would totally recommend it to anyone).

I’m writing this post mainly because I don’t know any fellow testers at Spotify and I would love to see this bug fixed, but also because this is a good example of location based bugs that we must be aware of when working on global and mobile products.

By the way, wouldn’t it be nice if companies were easier to reach and if we knew which bugs were on their backlog, especially when you are a paying customer?

Categories: Personal, Testing Tags: , , ,

My first year at Yahoo!

October 3rd, 2012 2 comments

Exactly one year ago, I left my safe, stable job at the brazilian federal government to join Yahoo! in São Paulo.

There were many reasons behind this decision, but speaking at the Agile Denver group in August 2010 (thanks Lisa and Somnath for the opportunity) was really important and decisive to me. During that talk, we reflected on successful and not so successful attempts to achieve agility in different contexts. After the talk, one of the attendees said that “if you can not change the company, change the company”, and so I did.

Working at my previous job was not bad at all. In fact, most brazilians share the dream of working for the government. It just wasn’t my thing at that point of my career. I had the opportunity to work with great people there as our testing group was formed, grew and got respect from other teams. It was a really nice experience, but required a lot of energy to deal with bureaucracy.

Things are very different and fast-paced at Yahoo!. In less than one year, I got to work on four of the biggest products on the Yahoo! portfolio, used a lot of different technology stacks and tackled on many interesting technical challenges. Being in such an awesome agile team that is not afraid of dealing with any problem we might face is the kind of experience I was looking for. Quoting Chad Fowler’s “The Passionate Programmer”:

Be the worst guy in every band you’re in. Being the worst guy in the band means always playing with people who are better than you.

By surrounding yourself with great, talented people, there is no way to go home without learning at least one new thing every day. From programming related stuff to random social facts, any quick conversation can be enlightening.

I’m really excited about the years to come and I hope to get back to updating the blog with some of the stuff I have been working with.

What about you? Are you happy with your career? Where do you want to be next? Take some time to think about this.

By the way, we are hiring!

Categories: Personal Tags: , ,