Severity and Impact of Computer User Frustration: A Comparison of Student and Workplace Users (2002)

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2005

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User frustration with information and computing technology is a pervasive and persistent problem. When computers crash, network congestion causes delays, and poor user interfaces trigger confusion there are dramatic consequences for individuals, organizations, and society. These frustrations not only cause personal dissatisfaction and loss of self-efficacy, but may disrupt workplaces, slow learning, and reduce participation in local and national communities. Our study of 107 student computer users and 50 workplace computer users shows high levels of frustration and loss of 1/3 to 1/2 of time spent. This paper reports on the incident-specific and user-specific causes of frustration, and they raise frustration severity. It examines the frustration impacts on the daily interactions of the users. The time lost and time to fix problem, and importance of task, strongly correlate with frustration levels for both student and workplace users. Differences between students and workplace users are discussed in the paper.

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