The page does not even tell me that it is hotmail. Then they say “We apologize for this inconvenience.” Thanks guys.
Contrast this to Technorati’s page:
“There are blogs, and then there’s whatever you just typed in. If it’s a blog, we don’t know about it. Maybe you made a typo. Or maybe it’s a blog that doesn’t exist. Maybe you don’t exist. (In which case, please ignore this.)”
Which gets a chuckle and gets the point accross.
What does your site do when a user makes a mistake, or your site makes a mistake?
When things aren’t going right, you have the opportunity to help your visitors. Hotmail and Coke don’t deal with this well. Do you?
UPDATE: Today Seth talks about contingency design as well.