Missing UX: Improperly ejected flash drives in Windows

If you are using Windows, you are certainly familiar with this dialog:

enter image description here

This is the dialog that shows up when you reinsert a flash drive that was not safely ejected using the awkward task bar dialog.

There are several problems with this dialog. First, it’s needlessly threatening. It sounds like your drive is broken, and that you are about to lose some files while in reality, you are most probably okay. Second, it interrupts the user’s workflow, since you can’t access the autorun dialog until you click Continue without scanning. Third, it might show several weeks after you have unplugged your drive the last time.

In other words, it’s completely useless.

What could have been done?

This is what happens right after you improperly eject a flash drive on OS X:

enter image description here

There are several improvements to notice here:

  1. The user is notified right after the fact. He knows what he did wrong.
  2. The dialog is not intrusive. It does not interrupt the workflow.
  3. The message is not threatening. It does not imply I fried my flash drive.

It’s a simple, efficient message that goes straight to the point without slowing you down or scaring you. It says “hey, be careful next time”, not “uh-oh, there might be a problem”, which is entirely appropriate for the situation.

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