I checked in to access my daily dose of YouTube in the evening when this popped up on my browser screen.
So, what is “500 Internal Server Error”? Well, who cares, the message had a sense of humor and that’s what mattered at that moment. A couple of attempts and the site was available for viewing. What I liked was the error handling done by YouTube at the server side. An “500 internal Server Error” means that something went wrong at the website server. It’s a generic message and yet flexible to be customized. Websites can take this opportunity to address error handling in a manor that will ensure that user inconvenience and emotional reaction can be contained by
Why is this error handling unique?
1. To start with, this error is not in your control. Sometimes servers fail to respond or probably your code fails.
2. This error is lot more detrimental to your site than when a typical 404 error. When the site does not load, user walks away.
3. There is no least resistance path for the user, there is no safety net and nor is there any graceful degradation. Your user actually might think its his fault or perhaps that he has reached a dead end.
How to handle server errors
The only possible way is to convey to the user that an error has occurred and its not his/her fault. Be graceful and honest about the situation. Google took this a step further by adding humor to the messaging and giving the user something to laugh about and in doing so, dilute the inconvenience that the user might have felt. That’s clever.
Do you agree?