Home Why Our Software Still Sucks

Why Our Software Still Sucks

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?

Maybe it is time to just clean house. I use Tune Up Utilities 2012 (shown below) but another tool has the charming name PC Decrapifier, from which we extracted our story’s opening icon.

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.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.