Concept Experience: Angry with Tech

Office Space

This was my “primary text” from my last nugget, and for those of you who don’t know the movie Office Space let me explain this a bit. First off, it’s a great 90’s film, but there’s a couple scenes that involve a printer that just doesn’t like to work for the characters. One character while trying to print a document is confronted with “PC Load Letter” and doesn’t know what that means and ends up hitting the printer. “PC Load Letter” is actually not a complicated term and just means that the printer paper is out and needs to be refilled. Not hard, right? But because he didn’t understand the language there was a disconnect between him and the printer. (This topic is different from what my original nugget post was about, but I find this topic still relate-able and easier to research.)

Now after brainstorming obvious statements about the gif above and my topic, I settled on on the statement “Technology makes us angry” and turned it into the question “Why does technology make us angry?” After googling the question, here’s what I found:

why does tech make us angry

A lot of the articles I found and read through talk about frustration when it comes to internet layouts. That first Washington Post link talks about anger being the most powerful emotion that spreads through the internet and how to possibly fix that. I then stumbled upon which had a forum with the question “What frustrates you the most about technology?” One answer was almost exactly what I was looking for,

“Well, I think that technology is usually frustrating because people don’t relate to it and can’t understand it, and it comes back to that simplicity idea (…): the fact that people really want a solution that’s simple enough for what they actually want to do. Now sometimes they want to do very complicated things, so complexity is OK, but each element wants to be simple within the context that they’re operating. Developing that idea from the point of view of getting past the frustration of technology is very important.” -Bill Moggridge

We become frustrated with technology because it’s not simple, or we don’t think it’s simple to use. I then changed my tactic and tried searching “why is technology frustrating?” and “why can’t we relate to technology?” The results weren’t what I was looking for, I figured I the term “relate” was weird to use in this case. After brainstorming a couple minutes, I searched “Why is technology hard?” and found a video by Tuitive called “Why is Technology so Hard to Use?” It’s a short video, and is advertising for the site, but it brought up a useful point: Programmers who build websites are going to build the user layouts in a way that’s similar to how the program looks because that’s how they think. They’re comfortable thinking in complex codes and unattractive layouts, while most users find clutter on a webpage difficult to work with and it creates frustration. The  video also used the term “user friendly” which I hadn’t thought to use yet.
I also found an article about people’s natural hesitence to change, which gives a story of the author’s grandfather giving up trying to work his VCR but immediately wanting to learn about e-books because he was an avid reader. The moral of the article was that we’ll be more accepting of difficult and new technology if its benefit outweighs the frustration of adapting to it. Seems like common sense, but it’s something not everyone actively thinks of.

After that article I started to hit dead ends on Google, but I did research for a good hour. Then I got the idea to incorporate Pinterest into this research (since that’ll be my topic for the course). I searched “user friendly technology” and… well…
user friendly tech pinterest

Mainly a lot of products that are user friendly came up. Pinterest isn’t so great for bigger ideas, I guess. We’ll work on that…

6 thoughts on “Concept Experience: Angry with Tech”

  1. It’s very interesting how you ended up searching ‘why technology makes us angry’ and ‘what about technology makes us angry’. I would think those two questions would be hard to research because I feel like you could only go as deep as to explaining that the language of human and computer are completely different. Then again, it could be that I don’t understand computerology (not a real word) and would not be able to research it, but everyone is different. But you should still think about the different things you could research about why technology would make someone angry and get into specifics. Very interesting topic though!

  2. I think that the questions that you researched are really compelling, since technology has become so intertwined with our daily lives, and yet people find it infuriating. In a way it sort of reminds me of family, since you rely on them and expect them to always be present, but they can also drive you absolutely insane. And it was a valiant effort trying to get Pinterest’s two cents on the topics.

  3. I think your research question is the best by far. Technology does make us angry. Look back at our class’ Progress Reports from last week, there’s a first hand account from a majority of people who are frustrated with the amount of technology use for this class. I believe that it is also easier to take out our frustrations on objects that are solely here to aid us and so anger may come more naturally, especially for those who are just technologically impaired.

  4. Your concept experience is actually very fitting right now as I’m taking multiple online classes and very frustrated. I was interested by the part where you realized that we’re more accepting to new technology when its benefits outweigh the frustrations. Well, it should be beneficial for all of us to be taking this course, but for some reason I’m sure it is frustrating a lot of us. Pinterest is less frustrating I assume because it’s strictly fun.

  5. Yes. I spend a lot of time angry with tech myself. But I also sometimes get angry with any inanimate object, so perhaps I’m not a great case study!

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