No, I’m not talking about using speech synthesis to abuse your users when they make a mistake – though the idea has merit … I’m instead referring to a blog entry written by Oren Eini back in August. Oren made the suggestion that your application should have a blog – a place where it can post informative messages about normal operation and abnormal conditions.
I think this is an idea with considerable merit – posts to a blog are necessarily intended for human consumption, giving system developers a strong incentive to make sure their messages make sense.
The other end of the scale is important as well – with RSS capabilities built in to many modern mail clients, including Outlook, Thunderbird and Live Mail, it becomes easy for the messages to be seen, raising awareness of the health (or not) of the system. One advantage of RSS over email is that email is only received by those subscribing at the time the message is sent - an RSS feed allows new subscribers to see old messages if they wish.