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"Complete your Free Twitter Account Signup

1 error prohibited this user from being saved

There were problems with the following fields:

Phone number has already been taken"

  

I've been trying to sign up and use twitter the past several days, based on recommendations from several friends. In short, the user experience of signing up and using it has been one of the worst of any of new web site based services that I've been trying out. The above is one example. When I tried to add someone from the site as a "friend", the site redirected me to twitter.com/account/create (the above page without the error message). When I filled everything in and clicked continue, the above is what I got.

 

This is a terrible user interface for error handling. From the top down.

 

1. "prohibited" ? That's pretty harsh.

2. "this user" ? Why are you talking about me in the 3rd person to my face? That's awfully impersonal.

3. "being saved" ? Some sort of oblique religious reference? The page says "Complete your Free Twitter Account Signup". How about saying something about the signup not being completed rather than introducing both a new noun "this user" and a new verb "saved".

4. "There were problems with the following fields: Phone number has already been taken" ? Um, hello? Do you see a phone number field on that form? I certainly don't. This is the kicker. The stuff above is just better copy. This is the worst of the problems. The site is telling me I have a problem, which has no obvious (or even unobvious AFAIK) way for me to solve it on this page. I'm stuck. This is a blocker, a roadblock, a UI deadend. Unforgivable.

5. Don't make it an error that the phone number appears to be taken - explain why this may be happening, and walk me through step by step with how to fix it. Whether I have to claim my phone number again or whatever.

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Uploaded on November 9, 2006