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HCIL-2002-18

Lazar, J., Jones, A., Hackley, M., Shneiderman, B. (2006)
Severity and Impact of Computer User Frustration: A Comparison of Student and Workplace Users
Interacting with Computers18(2), 187-207.
HCIL-2002-18, CS-TR-4409, UMIACS-TR-2002-89, ISR-TR-2005-33

User frustration in the use of information and computing technology is a pervasive and persistent problem. When computers crash, network congestion causes delays, and poor user interfaces trigger confusion there are dramatic consequences for individuals, organizations, and society. These frustrations not only cause personal dissatisfaction and loss of self-efficacy, but may disrupt workplaces, slow learning, and reduce participation in local and national communities. We propose a Computing Frustration Model with incident specific and individual variables to guide research. Our study of 108 computer users shows high levels of frustration and loss of 1/3 to 1/2 of time spent. The importance of the users' goals and the severity of the disruption were correlated with frustration. Those who had strong self-efficacy, indicated by a willingness to stick to solving the problem, reported lower levels of frustration. Implications for users, software developers, managers, and policymakers are discussed. Keywords: user frustration, user interface design, training, helpdesk, computer experience, computer anxiety


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