Apr 14, 2010 at 7:07 pm
Making a commitment to better output: NO MORE F*CKING TYPOS
The number-one cause for broken pages, missed messages, mysterious errors, and general frustration is, from where I stand, uncorrected fat-finger errors. I say uncorrected because the problem isn’t the mistake, it’s that the mistake is made live and propagates. So, I’m proposing a simple solution: the F-word.
Two kinds of typos
To be clear, I’m only speaking about one kind of typo here as there are two types:
- Typos that cause problems
- Typos that don’t cause problems
A misspelled word in your blog post, content page, or email probably isn’t going to cause a problem. What will cause a problem is a typo in a link, file structure, or code file. Additional problem-causers:
- Misspelled names (people hate that)
- Misspelled URLs (people hate that too)
- Misspelled word in headlines (might not cause a problem but it’s a big typo, literally, so it’s extra embarrassing)
- Incorrect date on a publication
A new name for a problem-causing typo: the F*CKING Typo
I’m calling that first type of typo above a “F*cking Typo” because that’s what you say when an hour of problem-solving leads you to a missing letter. It’s also what you say when someone publicly corrects your painfully obvious error.
The best solution: a reminder
To help myself cut way down on F*cking Typos, I’ve made myself a reminder that I printed and placed on my monitor. It occurred to me that everyone needs this kind of reminder so I’m offering it to you, completely free of charge, in two formats: the original version, vulgarity in tact, and a more PC, office version with an asterisk replacing a key vowel. Print, choose, cut, and tape it to your monitor.
That said ... I’m only human
The lamest excuse someone could give for making a dumb mistake is “it’s complex!” Working on the web is, in fact, complicated, but the reason errors are made is that humans are fallible and perfection is impossible. Ask anyone who has written a book and they’ll tell you they found typos even on the hundredth time they read the final draft.
I try hard to get things right the first time but it always helps to have a second (third, fourth) pair of eyes so I’m not embarrassed to submit (mock or proof) pages with a few errors. In my mind, I’d rather get it to you quickly and correct errors on the second round than spend an inordinate amount of time looking for slip-ups.