Placeholders

13Jun08

I cancelled a flight with Northwest Airlines earlier this week. Here’s the actual text that appeared at the top of their confirmation email:

“Something (or nothing) can go here”

Obviously, somebody put in this lame placeholder text and forgot to fix it before the template went live. In most cases, I’d say it’s better to get rid of the placeholder and include a no-nonsense summary in its place, or just leave it out entirely. If you like, you can make a note about improving it later. But don’t leave things in a state of disrepair just because you figure someone will deal with it in a later revision.

Need more guidance on this topic? I usually think about how a customer would react if they saw the “draft” version without the additional polish and refinement that would go into the “final” one. In other words, whatever version I’m saving has to be effective even without the benefit of future revisions. After all, it’s a lot better to have slightly boring yet concise text, compared to an embarrassing placeholder.



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