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Error messages and baby monitors

August 16th, 2021

At home, we have recently had a few WIFI-related struggles.

I made a few changes, which, unknown to me, caused our baby monitor set up to fail. In theory, it should have still worked.

We hit issues like this in product development all the time.

You restart a server, merge in small change or update a package, and what was a simple, risk-less task causes a knock-on issue or, worse, downtime.

Technology should be built to successfully fail, but more often than not, it isn't. As developers, we owe it to our consumers to ensure that it does so gracefully and informatively when our work fails.

As designers, we should be ensuring as default that we are designing error states and flows for unexpected failures.

As product owners, we need to plan user journeys for failed actions, and set aside a budget to ensure we are ready to adapt, rather than being in a state of 'add this to the future list'.

As for our baby monitor, we're currently using a Neos Smartcam.

I would not recommend this.

If you're in the market, I would look for something entirely isolated from your home internet, which works instantly when you switch it on.

The frustration from an app crashing at 2 am while you're trying to settle your toddler is not worth the benefits.