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Up to 20 Percent of Time Is Wasted on Computer Problems

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computer user with steam coming out of his ears, illustration

Study participants reported an average of one computer problem or frustration per hour.

Credit: Getty Images

Between 11 and 20 percent of the time spent on computers is wasted on systems that do not work, are difficult to understand, or cannot be made to perform a wanted task, according to a study from the University of Copenhagen and Roskilde University. The researchers say there are major gains to be achieved by rethinking the systems and involving users more in their development.

Struggling with computers to perform everyday tasks is a familiar situation, which suggests the systems are not good enough, says Professor Kasper Hornbæk, one of the researchers behind the study.

"Everyone knows that it is difficult to create IT systems that match people's needs, but the figure should be much lower," Hornbæk says. "One thing that it shows is that ordinary people aren't involved enough when the systems are developed."

The two biggest categories of problems are about insufficient performance and lack of user-friendliness. Those are the same fundamental problems users faced 15-to-20 years ago, Hornbæk says.

From University of Copenhagen
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