IT frustration and counter-productive applications

Frustrated by internal systems! I just finished writing a page for our intranet. But now I ended up frustrated with no article published:

First attempt: After spending 10 minutes writing I pressed “save and exit”. but the article never changed.

Second attempt: Spent another 10 minutes writing. In the review I pressed Command+backspace to delete to start of line. Unfortunately, the webpage interpreted this as “back”, and since the Microsoft based system operates on the same URL, it effectively deleted my entire text. (pressing “forward” brought up the old text)

Obviously, I should have pressed Option+backspace.

Third attempt: Accidentally hit Command+Backspace after 3 minutes of writing. So now I’m giving up! I decided I will NOT change that article, so the information in it will remain outdated until somebody more patient decide to change it!

Worst issue I have with this system: it’s very easy to make irreversible mistakes! (which I think is one of the 3 most important issues that Usability can address: Make it hard to make mistakes).

I wonder if you have similar experiences from your daily life with IT systems? I also wonder if anybody has measured productivity losses like this in IT systems?

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10 Responses to “IT frustration and counter-productive applications”

  1. Steve | Bape Says:

    Why we don’t have applications designed for unlimited ctrl+Z? This is the big question in my mind and I always ruin plenty of stuff just due to lack of concentration and interest. Once I destroyed all my data and OS using some stupid Drive manager and that was my first and last attempt to do it. Anyways, I wish to have such applications which could be reversed at any level.

  2. anon Says:

    There is much more to measure beyond direct productivity loss. The CMS that our 1000+ employees are each required to use is full of usability problems, and perhaps the biggest is that it’s fairly easy to make irreversible mistakes. The only solution is to spend thousands of unnecessary person-hours on extra training for what should be a straight-forward solution, in a desperate attempt to balance out the fact that users can’t safely experiment and learn on their own. (Even then, we still have to spend thousands more hours using the admin tools and backups to try to “undo” the irreversible mistakes).

  3. Leonardo Says:

    Web browsers are horribly inadequate tools for large volume data entry.
    I once worked at a data entry gig where they had a centralized data entry web application. Technically the idea is sound, but as you say, it’s too damn easy to activate “go back” or Reload whatever accidentally, and lose all the data.
    Trying to use this software setup in a job that payed by volume of work, was about as pleasant as trying to use a solderer with a 1cm handle in a speed soldering competition for money.

  4. Leonardo Says:

    Addenum: because of previous burns like these, for writing anything longer than a paragraph, I now instinctively open my text editor, save a blank file, start typing and save every time I stop typing.

  5. Jeet Says:

    This used to be an everyday affair but with newer systems I see autosave functionality built-in. I believe wordpress and google have set some really good standards on this front and new implementations are following them in implementing auto-save functionality in forms.

  6. Princess Says:

    LOL… writers block. I guess everybody even the best novelist that ever exist on this earth had experience the same thing. Sometimes ideas and words are just seem crowding on your mind and in a space of minute nothing is in there. It is just like POOF! and everything you wanted to write is gone. And you don’t even know why and what have been you thought.

  7. Cubic zirconia Says:

    I can feel what you feel now. I believe everyone have ever had similar situtations. Usually taking a deep breath would help ease that feeling of frustration. It was just yesterday I tried to coment your this article, when I finished and clicked button of Submit Comment, OMG all the messed code. Ok, just let’s do it again.

  8. web writing trainer Ben Says:

    Hi Jesper

    You’ve just described the story of my life.

    Every day I find new ways to be defeated by the technology. I’m OK at writing the words and using them to convey key messages succinctly and persuasively. But when it comes to doing something technical with those words – like copying them, attaching them, reformatting them, forwarding them, submitting them, putting them up on a website – things tend to go awry.

    Next time you have a bad day, like the one you’ve just described, take comfort from the fact that somewhere out there is an intranet writing trainer called Ben who’s having an even worse time.


  9. A1qa Says:

    I’d like to tell you my story:
    I have a blog based on WordPress. Without adding some special plugin the only way you can change your post text is italic, also bold and smth simple like that. Too simple. I needed to change colours of my text and to change font size. After installing an editor (WP plugin) smth strange happened on my blog. I copy-pasted the text into “add a post” field of my dashboard and I saw it was OK there,but after pushing “publish” I saw my page and it looked really disheveled. Some text was of one font size, some of other, some where there were empty lines where they shouldn’t be. I spent an hour trying to cope but unfourtunately it was looking much worse after changes. And till then I try to type my posts on the dashboard, without copypastig. :)

  10. Toppy Says:

    This kind of thing has happened to me many times. Which is why I do exactly what you mentioned. Text editor or whatever application is needed. Auto backups, undo, redo, all very handy. Quite often I’ll even write comments in my text editor as well. :)