With the help of Google, it didn't take long to find out that the best approach is to use "Apologetic" language in error messages. This has a positive effect on your customers.
I've never liked the idea that the standard ShowMessage gets positioned centered on the screen. I'd rather have a messaged display centered on the window where the error occurs. I also don't want my error messages scattered all over the place. So, I set out to do two things;
- Display error messages that are centered on the form where the error occurs
- Centralize all the error messages in one place
This makes it very easy to keep track of all the error messages. It also lets me easily create similar but slightly different error messages for any given situation. I can also group related error messages by using a simple number scheme.
I'm a big fan of code completion Ctrl+Space. When I need to include an error message I simply type zmsg Ctrl+Space and up pops the code completion window with all the available error messages that I can choose from.
P.S. As far as using "we" inside the error messages. I asked my wife if she was okay with an application giving this type of feedback and she said it was fine with her.