Yesterday TrackVia released some surprising survey results here about how frustrated customers are with their computer experience. What is surprising is how low the numbers were:
- More than 17% admitted they were fed up enough that they would consider quitting their jobs over bad software,
- 29% said that they wasted from one to three hours a month on their software's issues,
- 60% have yelled at their computers at least once, and
- 9% said that their software helped them be as productive as possible.
Frankly, I just think all of these numbers are way too low. I see lots of lost time and frustration in my own interactions, let along among family, friends, and colleagues. Software still sucks.
Maybe it was the small sample size: only 350 people completed surveys, recruited by a decent polling source (Amplitude Research), among non-IT and non C-level employees. Somehow they chose the happiest customers on the planet. They should be congratulated. Yeah, right.
But perhaps it is just human nature. We tend to forget the usual give-and-take that is part of our daily operations with email, Microsoft Office, and the Web. Take as SOP the numerous reboots when Windows need to update itself, and then the consequences: This changes something so subtle that you can no longer find the controls for something that you previously took for granted. Or accept the typical fate when a corporate-wide upgrade to our browsers hides its command menus from plain sight. Or not complain when a new version of Java that breaks everything written in the old version of Java.
I could go on, but I think you get my point. My wife, who is no computer newbie and knows her way around her software, asks me (because I am personally responsible for her code) why developers are continually changing things? As if they are trying to make her crazy by moving this or that around the screen. She isn't alone. But that wasn't a question on the TrackVia survey: how many users are tired of re-learning something that they already knew how to do?
In the very funny British TV series, "The IT Crowd" the end user support guys have a shtick they do whenever they answer the phone: "Hello, IT. Have your tried rebooting your computer, make sure it is plugged in." It isn't so far from the truth. (Watch Season 2, btw.)
With all of our SaaS thingies, then agile this, and scrum that, you would think that our basic software for 2011, let alone 2012, would be far better than the DOS-based days of the mid-1980s when you could only run one app at a time and the notion of cut-and-paste still used a pot of glue and scissors. I feel your pain, I really do. In the meantime, we still have to put up with lousy software.