How much time have you wasted trying to figure out why something didn’t work as intended on your computer hours per year, and that’s probably a low estimate across all the world’s users. Humanity’s wasting at least 10 billion hours each year because of computer bugs. That’s approximately twenty three thousand lifetimes or more than the number of people killed by earthquakes and hurricanes combined. You click a button on a link and it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to because of some technical error. But how does a user know what that button was supposed to do in the first place?
They actually don’t, at least not for sure. People for mental models of computer systems with some general expectations for how the computer is supposed to work. If then the computer is something different, people may revise their mental model to form different predictions about the computer. But if the computer’s action was the result of a bug, then the users now new mental model will be wrong and that user will be less likely to use the system correctly in the future. Just as likely the user simply stumped and loses confidence in their understanding of the computer.
This is one of the terrible effects of bugs. They make people feel insecure and oppressed by the technology as opposed to humans feeling in charge of technology. In a very small percentage of cases, users will attempt to depok the system and find out what’s causing the problem. But remember, it’s only people like you and me who have any kind of decent debugging skills. Most users can do it and have no other option but to give up when the computer doesn’t work. Those of us who don’t give them waste even more time trying to make things right, because computers often don’t follow the basic usability heuristic No.9 to help people recognize, diagnose and recover from errors. Often the stated error messages directly misleading and doesn’t tell us the real problem. I think we users of the world need to foment a revolution, but we stand up against all the poorly implemented software and all the poorly integrated systems where the parts don’t work together as advertised.
Let’s demand computers at work. All the world’s programmers should do no other work the next two years than fixing bugs. New features will do the world much less good than the existing features implemented correctly so that they work every time without fail. There are too many features already. Anyway, it’s time to make tech work.