Guilty software 18:47 on Wednesday

A lot of software could be better, faster, more stable. Bad software is not only irritating, but bad software makes users feel guilty. Guilty for not getting enough done.

Here’s a fictional story:

Johanna works at a Big Company. She has been tasked the fairly simple job of entering data from a pile of paper forms into the company intranet. Knowing the amount of paper and her typing speed, Johanna has a fairly good idea of how long it will take for her to finish the task.

Suddenly, her software starts crashing and she starts lagging behind her intended schedule. She’s mad at the computer for crashing — but she’s also mad at herself for not getting the task done in an adequate time, for being inefficient. And it’s not her fault! Johanna ends up doing overtime to accomplish the goal she set for herself in the morning. On the way home she blames the company for not compensating for the overtime, and at home she’s tired and snaps at her family.

Software needs to be better than this. If you develop things people use, you have a responsibility.

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