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"Shneiderman, Ben" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Shneiderman, Ben
Tue, 29 Aug 2000 13:10:18 -0400
text/plain (49 lines)
HI Bob,

  I'm resubmitting my note...

  I'm planning to be up your way to speak at IBM on Sept 19-20 - coordinated
by John Karat.

                best wishes... -- Ben S


User Frustration Data Collection

I am seeking your help in a short-term research project to assess the degree
of and situations that cause frustration among users of commercial software
tools.  Anecdotes and strong public statements have produced a lively
controversy, so now it would be useful to report scientifically on user
experiences. This evidence would identify the severity of the problem (or
lack of it) and then serve as a guide for product improvements and research
agendas.  Just as airlines report delayed and cancelled flights, the
software industry might provide consumers with accurate information about
software problems.

If you have collected data in your organization from logs of user activities
or surveys and interviews with users, please share what you can from these
sources.  The kinds of information I think would be useful are frequencies,
circumstances and costs (time and money) due to:

   -    crashes that terminate programs and lose data
   -    inability to figure out how to accomplish an intended task
   -    confusion with dialog boxes, instructions or help
   -    need for users to obtain human assistance
   -    incompatible file formats and failed conversions
   -    failure to open attachments to email
   -    incompatible hardware, software, networks
   -    incomplete facilities for disabled user access
   -    inadequate universal usability design

I will collect your responses and prepare a report for general use.  I would
appreciate comments by September 30, so that a report could be prepared for
distribution at the ACM Conference on Universal Usability, November 16-17,
2000 (

Ben Shneiderman 
Dept of Computer Science  301-405-2680
University of Maryland    301-405-6707 fax
College Park, MD 20742