There’s no excuse for spelling errors on the interface

March 2, 2011

Seen on an application I installed the other day (yes, I’ve since uninstalled it!):

With me, it’s all about trust. If the makers of the software can’t spend the time and money on getting someone to check that the interface text is spelled correctly, how can I trust them to make a product that is reliable and worthwhile? If they won’t spend money on that, what else have they omitted to do — full QA testing of the product before release?

Update 1

Since I wrote this blog post I’ve seen another interface spelling error and this one rang HUGE alarm bells for me and resulted in me stopping some malware from taking over my husband’s computer. It was a variation on the malware he got a few years ago. Again, it was dressed up to look like a legitimate Microsoft security message/warning for ‘Windows XP 2011’, but almost immediately it started doing some sort of scan. It had disabled Firefox, MalwareBytes Anti-Malware, and I think Trend as well, so I couldn’t run any sort of scan on it. As we’d had something like this before, I killed it almost immediately via Task Manager (never close these things via the buttons — that can activate even further nastiness!). Even when I booted into Windows XP Safe Mode, it still wanted to run, so I killed it again, turned off the computer and my husband took it to PC Guru to get fixed.

And what was it that raised my suspicions straight away? The title bar of the scanning part of this beast had ‘Unregistred Software‘ in it. That typo rang the alarm bells for me.

By getting to it quickly enough, I think we dodged a nasty bullet that may have required another reinstallation of his computer.

Again, it was trust. I didn’t trust an application that ran without asking me, and I sure didn’t trust one that had such a spelling error/typo in the title bar. Microsoft may have its faults (and I’ve certainly written about them here), but I rarely see typos in its interface. I trust that anything from Microsoft would NOT have such an error. Ergo, this interface had a typo, so it was unlikely from Microsoft, even though it had a Microsoft-looking costume on. I didn’t trust it, and I was right not to.

Update 2 (April 2011)

Bad spelling has caught out counterfeiters of Australia’s Jacobs Creek wine! See these news articles for details:

[Links last checked April 2011]


  1. Spelling errors are the easiest way to spot mal-everything. It seems so obvious to me. I realize it is my profession that gives me those smarts. Many people fall for this. When I meet someone who is wailing about being hit, I try to gently remind them of tips like these.

    Once again, you have a good, sensible post that many people should read and share.

  2. Good post. I wonder what the U.S. equivalent is of PC Guru?

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