Better User Experience for Errors

Better User Experience for Errors

Clint Berry
Clint Berry
April 3, 2023

When connecting to third party software many things can go wrong. Configuration can be incorrect, scopes can mismatch, login credentials can not have enough permissions, just to name a few. The way software handles these errors is often a good indicator of how much a company focuses on software quality. Unfortunately teams that are charged with building integrations often put great user experiences on the back burner. Sometimes there is pressure to hit a deadline. Other times companies view their integrations team as a cost center and don’t give them enough budget.

Whatever the reason, one of the big advantages to using a third party Integration Platform like Kolla is that we eat, sleep, and breath integrations and focus on making all aspects of the user experience amazing.

With that in mind we have released an all new error experience for Kolla Embed. Specifically we have updated three experiences to make your job easier, and your customers lives better:

1. Better Error Screens

We now show a friendlier message to the user that is less jarring but lets the user know we have been notified and are working on it. We threw some nice cat photos in there for good measure to keep things lighter.

New error images courtesy of Dall-E

2. Logs added to Kolla Admin

We now expose all errors to you in a new Logs section of the Kolla Admin portal. Logs includes all errors and many other events such as credential access. This will help you diagnose any issues you might be seeing.

3. Solicit users when we can’t detect what happened

In certain cases, especially with OAuth2 flows, Kolla can’t detect what happened when there was an error. As an example, if you are using the HubSpot connector and something is configured wrong, HubSpot doesn’t return that error back to the software trying to connect. So what do you do if you can’t detect an error automatically? If we see a user tried to create a link but never finished and then closed the OAuth popup window, we simply ask the user what happened!

Results from these user forms are put into the logs section so you have access to them.

Obviously this isn’t perfect or ideal, but it provides a last resort to get some idea of what could be happening for connectors that may not be working right.

The Path Forward

Error handling in the Kolla user experience is now a first class citizen. To make sure we incorporate this in all future products we have added a section called “Error Flows” to our product planning document. In this section we identify any possible errors that could happen and we design and build error experiences that make the best of a bad situation.

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