What the Erroneous Hawaiian Missile Alert Can Teach Us About Error Prevention

What the Erroneous Hawaiian Missile Alert Can Teach Us About Error Prevention
What the Erroneous Hawaiian Missile Alert Can Teach Us About Error Prevention

On Saturday, January 13th 2018, residents and tourists in the Hawaiian islands received a very frightening emergency alert on their mobile devices. The alert from Hawaii’s emergency alert command center read “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

The missile emergency alert was sent to residents and tourists in Hawaii. Note the all-capitals font: while capital letters can be appropriate for glanceable text, a 3-line paragraph is difficult to read when formatted like this.

Thankfully, this was in fact a drill: there was no inbound missile headed toward the islands. However, the message had been inadvertently sent live to cell phones across the...






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