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ProgrammersI hate the users. Am I a sinner ?
[+21] [22] blabla
[2010-12-01 16:35:19]
[ feedback stress ]
[ http://programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/22897] [DELETED]

Of course, not that I hate all users - almost all of them give positive feedback, and only a small portion of the negative feedback is of the type that makes me go crazy.

The annoying part that I am referring to is generally: Stupid average Joe's that (edited based on my observations on how you understood these) :

  1. criticizes for something that actually works, but they don't know how to use it even that it is pretty straightforward and tens of thousands of other people gets it just with 2 clicks (it is not for a weakness in the UI design. It is for simple and common practices, that doesn't need tips/help text because the program will become a crap if each one of them has an explanation. You know, things that are in each program, you could hardly manage to write an e-mail with bad feedback if you are that weak with your computer skills)

  2. whining about small stuff that should be changed (but only based on their perception, not that it is important in any way for any other user) like "why the button X is on the left of the button Y, instead of being on the right?" (not for the left/right of an Ok/Cancel button, but for something that makes more sense to all other users the way it is)

  3. start spilling out BS + offensive stuff/curses, without even explaining what is their God damned problem (I can't talk to them to calm them down and decrease their frustration, it is an e-mail based feedback)

I especially hate #2, because: if I buy some car, I wouldn't start whining to the manufacturer that the steering wheel has to be with 0.2 inches smaller radius. Somebody has planned/invented 3000 stuff regarding the particular model that I couldn't, which means that his judgement is much heavier than mine - and he knows better. This doesn't include bugs reports/new features suggestions of course, I am talking about small stuff, mattering solely for the user who is making a lot of noise about them.

So, to get to the point - when I get a #1, #2 or #3, I get very angry, and if I am stressed during that time I start imagining that I spill BS to them too, like an anonymous hate mail or something. Of course I never did something like that, but I am not sure that even thinking about it is ok.

So, am I a bad person ?


EDIT: Thank you all for the good and useful answers, I will mark as accepted the one with most upvotes after 1-2 days, but I like them all. I thought about making an "EDIT: I forgot to mention, I killed and buried a user a few weeks back" but I decided that it would be more of a spam than a good joke :)

The bottom line of your responses (as I see it) is that this does not make me a bad person, but I have to learn not to take these personal, but without becoming with neutral feelings for the project, and for the satisfaction of the users that actually use the product.

Thanks again.

EDIT: this question can truly be closed, because I saw that I bother about "small stuff" like having a negative vibrations towards a user (with a nonconstructive feedback) even that I treated him with respect, while there are a lot of people that just ignore when somebody has a problem or a question, so it's fine.

(2) +1 for whining about small stuff that should be changed straight away - dave.b
(26) Don't worry. The users hate you just as much so it evens out in the end. - Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen
(8) If your a software developer that doesn't sometimes hate the users, then you don't have interaction with the users. - TZHX
Happy users bring revenue. You have choices: Abort/Retry/Ignore or pretend that money is irrelevant. You don't like it? Go somewhere else! youtube.com/watch?v=iMDTcMD6pOw&feature=related - Job
@Job: Revenue depends on the number of adequately happy users. It doesn't matter how many people aren't buying the product (that number will remain in excess of six billion for most products). - David Thornley
@David Some software companies do have the number of users approaching a billion. In order to get there from 0, they have had to have an amazing product. joelonsoftware.com/articles/HighNotes.html youtube.com/watch?v=-hxX_Q5CnaA - Job
(1) @Job: Sure, Microsoft has over a billion paying customers (and maybe another company does), and several other companies have over a billion non-paying customers, but that's rare, and most products do have over six billion non-customers in the world. Moreover, the way to gigacustomers is not so much to have an amazing product as a product that exploits network effects - and a willingness to push anticompetitive behavior doesn't hurt. - David Thornley
(1) Can you ask the question without cursing? We are (mostly) adults here. - AShelly
@AShelly If you are talking about the "damned" part, just search for it with the search bar of the site, and see how many results you will get. Also, you can try to search for some other words too. But hey, I don't see a comments on any of them from you ? - blabla
(4) @blabla. It's not any single word. It's the whole tone. The anger is leaping off the page, which automatically makes me flip the bozo bit. If you want to be taken seriously, write seriously. - AShelly
(1) It's also OK to accept the answer you like best. - Larry Coleman
@David Thornley - you are a playa hata ;) More seriously though - whether you aim for 100 or 100k or 100M user base, two hundred dollars in the pocket is better than one hundred dollars in the pocket. Unlike with cars or chairs, it usually costs next to nothing to create and distribute additional copies of the software, unless the business model would not allow that. Many companies do not have what it takes to become the next Amazon or Apple. Ignoring the user's needs is a sure way to get there. - Job
(3) @AShelly if your perception is that "the anger is leaping off the page", then you have a problem with YOURS anger, because you are twisting everything in your reality. Read my comments and you will see that I am a very positive person, and that I want to bring the users satisfaction, e.g. to actually create something useful for them. Also, if I was such angry person that writes things that "leaps off" the pages, I wouldn't feel bad about the fact that I get annoyed from time to time. So, try to find out why you are seeing anger that leaps off all around you, would you do that ? :) - blabla
@Job: And you can bet that Amazon disregarded a whole lot of users on their way to the top. They were moving really fast, and didn't have time to pay attention to everybody. Seriously, attracting ten new customers beats keeping one old one almost every time, and that's what was happening with Amazon and iProducts. To hit it big like that, you need to provide something that lots of people need and/or want, but you can get there even while ignoring fairly large market segments. - David Thornley
(2) @blabla Why don't you hate all users? Users are there to be hated. - Orbling
(1) Yes, you are a bad persion. Repent sinner! :) - Stargazer712
(1) How was this question not closed within seconds of its creation? Which of the 6 guidelines does this actually meet? - Aaronaught
@Aaronaught what you are saying is like "why the programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/12807/… is not closed" , and can also apply for 500 more questions here. These are questions connected to the development, but they just don't require a direct code sample for an answer. - blabla
Uh, you seem to be confusing the rules here with the rules on Stack Overflow. This site isn't about code. Read the FAQ. - Aaronaught
(1) @Aaronaught so you don't think that this is a question regarding Quality assurance (what to do with the feedback that you don't think that matters) or Development methodologies (how to handle this feedback), and it is not a constructive subjective question that inspire answers that explain “why” and “how” (how to handle this), tend to have long, not short, answers and invite sharing experiences over opinions? Perhaps you should read the FAQ a little bit - blabla
(1) Questions/comments about how this site functions should be directed to the Meta-discussion site: do not use the question body. - Mark Trapp
Voting to reopen, this should have been closed. - Josh K
@Josh - Your self contradiction made me laugh. - ChaosPandion
@Joris Meys: yes, it gets pretty strange - I asked this, people answered with "you have to treat the users with respect, even if you don't like what they are saying" and with "are you sure that you are not an angry person". Then, they angrily closed my question, because they don't like what I am saying as a user. Funny. - blabla
No, your question was closed because it's not constructive. If you want to rant about your job, I suggest getting a blog. - Mark Trapp
@Mark Trapp yes, I read these, it is constructive because I wanted to understand what approach should I use regarding that particular situation in the software support lifecycle. And angry or not, I do treat my users (even the ones with not constructive feedback) nicely - something that you might try to learn - blabla
You're not my user: I'm a community member, just like you and everyone else you've been interacting with. From the linked guidelines: "The best subjective questions avoid the all too seductive route of ranting and flamebait. They set the right tone of constructive learning and collaboration from the very outset, by emphasizing that we’re all here to learn from each other, even if we have different viewpoints or beliefs about the right way to handle what are inherently subjective decisions. We’re not here to fight each other; that’s an enormous waste of everyone’s time." - Mark Trapp
@Mark Trapp If I am using something of yours, for example your knowledge/intellectual when I am asking you something, I can be considered a user of yours. If you ask me on the street how to get to XYZ place, you are my user, and I am responsible for giving you useful information/help or a crap. And what's with the quote with the "best subjective questions", did I said that this is one of the best questions? Quote the requirements, and say if I meet them or not. Anyway, I don't care, this is not working, hope you don't act like that regarding your portfolio's hm...projects - blabla
@Chaos: Ahhhh! I must be losing it. - Josh K
@Closers: Please rethink your behavior. Programmers site was extra created as an outlet for programming-related but not technical questions which were used to be closed on StackOverflow. if you continue to exercise this behavior here, people will migrate elsewhere. And you really really really don't want that. - Developer Art
@Developer Art: This is not a reason to keep bad questions open. We really really want to see people writing non constructive posts on another place. - bigown
I hate almost all of them. The user is evil. The user is dummy. The user is dangerous. - Lorenzo
(1) @Developer Art: Have you even read the FAQ? This isn't supposed to be everybody's little playground to rant and rave. Jeff Atwood expressed grave concern over this site and created the 6 guidelines and the "not constructive" close reason specifically to deal with questions like this one. You really have to stop reopening every useless question that happens to tickle your fancy. - Aaronaught
And to think that this is actually a "hot" question. It's sad that something like this happens just when the Programmers site was finally starting to look semi-serious. - Aaronaught
(3) This is in fact a great question. The issues discussed here, that is programmer dealing with customer complaints and feedback are known to exist. We just touched a sensitive side of it, namely the emotional response of a programmer. It also deserves discussion. It will definitely help somebody. At least from comparison of the author's initial question to his edit, I can see that our answers did him some good. I'm sure the other readers who'll stumble upon this post will feel better as well. In this regard it is a good question - it solves a problem and helps people. - Developer Art
I hate closers. Am I a sinner? - Lorenzo
This will make you feel better: eu.techcrunch.com/2008/06/24/… (warning bad language) “Sowwy [sic.] dudes but some of you have p***d us off so much today that we’ve shut the whole site down and f***d off to the Zoo.” - JW01
[+20] [2010-12-01 16:44:35] Tim Post

No. But I think you might be taking your work a little too personally.

If one in 1,000 people give you a suggestion that actually helps to improve your software, or reports a bug that would be nearly impossible to find otherwise, or perhaps corrects a translation issue .. or any of the constructive things that users tend to do from time to time, putting up with the other 999 was worth it.

Do not ever, under any circumstances continue to deal with someone once they become belligerent, threatening or completely unreasonable. No good can come from a conversation that has deteriorated to that level. Hang up the phone, close the ticket, bury the e-mail, or whatever else you have to do to remove that piece of noise from your life.

Finally, a simple phrase like "We'll take it into consideration for the next release" goes a long way, even if they suggested that the threads sewing the seats together should be a slightly darker shade. You never know when that user might tickle an interesting bug .. and those type of people tend to be quite meticulous when filing bug reports.

Additionally, have you seen the feature requests at meta.stackoverflow.com [1] ? Good grief, many of them come from programmers.

[1] http://meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/feature-request

(1) You consider 1 out of 1000 messages being worthwhile a good return on your time? More patience than me, my good man. - TZHX
@TZHX: Public schools taught me, very very well, how to drown out noise and just do what I had to do :) - Tim Post
+1 for suggesting that the programmer should be the bigger man (or woman). - Stargazer712
+1 for “thanks, we'll take that into consideration” whatever the case is. Always worked wonders from both a practical AND personal point. - Agos
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[+13] [2010-12-01 16:45:27] Developer Art

I hate the users. Am I a sinner ?

Technically, yes. But that's not your fault. It's in the nature of the things, in human psychology to have a strong emotional response towards those who take you out of your comfort zone. Many passionate programmers have a strong emotional binding to their developments. It's because programming is not just a job for them but also the center point of their personal interests (and life - but you didn't hear me saying that). Here comes professional pride which is very easy to hurt by not providing enough admiration or by issuing a small bit of criticism.

You need to get past that. If I were the Lieutenant Tuvak (from Start Trek Voyager) I would advice you to learn to control your emotions, to perform emotional detachment otherwise the emotions will consume you.

when I get a #1, #2 or #3, I get very angry

You should take #1, #2 as an opportunity to improve things. Your users' opinion lets you see things in a different light.

Here's the thing. You're developing software for users. They are going to be using it, so you need to apply some efforts to make them satisfied and happy. Software should solve their problems, be easy to use and don't build any additional obstacles by being incomprehensible. If you don't accept that then you should ask yourself: "What's the point of me writing software? Who's going to be using it?". Answer those for yourself and you'll see how your attitude will change.

The problem is that programmers often do not have a clue about UI design, usability or the customer business processes. Programmers are persuaded they know it all. The practice destroys that illusion in the most painful way which reaches them personally. It's hard when it happens for the first time. But it gets easier with time. You'll just need to revert the implications.

You think that you don't want to hear user complaints and criticism. That's fine. Understandable.

Try this instead. You want to hear the users' complaints, criticism and "unsolicited advice" because it will help you understand how to make the software better. In a storm of complaints there are always some drops of wine. Recognize them, filter them out and make good use of them.

There is a strategy called user-centric design. You go to the customer site, you talk to the future users (not managers) of your software, you watch them going about their day, what they do, which problems they stumble upon and how they solve them. You write it all down, sometimes record it with audio and video. Then you go home and analyze what you've seen and what you've learned. You set up your development process around continuous input from your users. You need it to make a product that will fit in harmonically and will be accepted by people not rejected by them.

It may be too much in your case but still, take whatever your users say, analyze it critically. Maybe there are useful ideas.

A successful programming product is much more than great code. Code is just a part of it. Other parts are just as important and may be defining in the product success or fiasco.

Having said that I feel the need to make it clear that all people are different. Some are great programmers but lack any design skills. Some are good technical architects but lack management skills. And some are just not born to be dealing with customers. With time you understand your place. If you learn you can't work it out just let your manager know he should cut you off from communication with customers, otherwise it's no use if you keep getting angry and that disrupts your productivity.


Your logic is that I should accept all kinds of feedbacks no matter what. So, if you make a cure for AIDS and bring the World Peace, and somebody says to you that this is crap, you will be ok with it? - blabla
(7) People will always be criticizing no matter what. One of the hardest things to learn in life is not to care about those you don't care about. - Developer Art
@Developer Art cool :) I have a hard time dealing with this because I very often work with, you know, a lot of passion, which is good but a bad side effect is that I take it all personal. Anyway, thanks, your answer is very useful too, I have a hard time figuring out which one to mark as accepted :) - blabla
Don't accept immediately. Always wait at least 1-2 days for the other answers to come. Is sort of a "best practice" here. - Developer Art
+1 for "programmers often do not have a clue about UI design, usability or the customer business processes" Programmers often fall in love with their own work and have a blind spot to the limitations. Criticism of any kind often feels like the child they created is being attacked. - Bill
Looks like I've revised my answer almost entirely. Hope it's better now. - Developer Art
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[+8] [2010-12-01 16:44:36] Martijn Verburg

No you're not a bad person, but I think you're suffering from a classic case of developer/user disconnect.

Do you work work closely with your users daily when developing new projects/functionality? A cornerstone of the Agile movement is to bring everyone closer together much earlier in the piece. It's amazing how many frustrations are removed by working together and understanding each other's points of view as early in the process as possible.


(1) +11111111111111 - Job
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[+4] [2010-12-01 17:01:35] mlk

Nice, understanding bit: No, you are human. I frequently want to sma^W re-educate my user base. However I find my attitude change quite a bit when I force my self to work with the users. Shadow the user to find out what they do.

Alas I'm an evil git bit:
criticizes for something that actually works - Works and works well are very different beasts.

whining about small stuff that should be changed - Are you sure your idea of small and his/her idea of small are the same. Maybe that small change will save them a few minutes a day? That is quite some time over a year.

his judgement is much heavier than mine - Really? I end up using this product day in, day out. My judgement means a lot. Even more so if it is an in-house type app with a small user base.


thanks, a good answer, you guys are great - blabla
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[+3] [2010-12-01 16:37:33] johnny

You are a narcissist that programs. you are evil.


So, what does that means? That you are feeling pretty ok to spend months on something, putting a lot of effort in it, and then somebody says something completely stupid and ignorant about it. And you don't feel annoyed by this, you are like "oh well, maybe I deserve this after spending 3 months of carefully and dedicated dev." ? - blabla
@blabla It's funny man. funny. relax. - johnny
@johnny ooops I didn't get it that you are joking. Sorry that I have been a #1 :) - blabla
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[+2] [2010-12-01 17:32:22] Scott Whitlock

I don't know about your #2. I'm currently driving a rental car, and I was looking at the dashboard this morning, and I realized the speedometer is weird. It has really big numbers (0, 20, 40, 80, etc.) but because they're so big, the tick marks for the ones with numbers are much smaller than for the speeds between them (so 10, 30, 50, 70, etc.). This is just so backwards to what any other speedometer in my life has ever been like (major tick marks are biggest, and the ones in between are smaller, and the minor ones in between those are the smallest). It seems like a tiny thing, and it is, but when you have to keep glancing at it all the time, it's distracting. You start thinking, "why the heck did the designers feel the need to change that?" "Didn't they focus test this?"

So yeah, some little things in your eyes are big things in their eyes. In your example, if you didn't use a standard configuration for the OK and Cancel buttons in the bottom right of your forms (for instance, sometimes cancel was on the left, sometimes the right), then I could see someone being frustrated by that. If you have a lot of little issues, it's like death by a thousand papercuts.

Though I do sympathize. I think we all get frustrated with the requests, but you have to learn to embrace the feedback, and not take it personally.


good point, with a nice and bulls-eye analogy, nice - blabla
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[+2] [2010-12-01 17:59:12] Kavet Kerek

You are either Sark or the MCP from Tron [1]

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sark_%28Tron%29

(1) +1 For Tron reference, but I would cast him more as Flynn. - Orbling
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[+2] [2010-12-01 18:27:25] user8865

Consider yourself lucky.

What's really awful is when

  1. The business you work for hasn't completely thought through their own business model and they've never really systematized their business processes before computers have even been brought into the equation. Them: Let us delete the order. You: Okay, but what are you going to do with the rest of the stuff you still owe the customer? Them: ummm...I dunno.

  2. The users in the business you work for are complaining about the consequences of the features that they themselves mandated you add. For example, you're asked to add five additional text fields to a user's screen to give them the additional detail they want, and they feel being forced to drill down to another screen is unacceptable, but then they complain that all the stuff that you're required to jam into the screen makes it "too busy" and cluttered.

  3. Give you contradictory requirements. "Give the user the flexibility to do whatever they want no matter how bad it is but prevent them from doing anything bad."

I came from a usability background where understanding and tolerating user requests is considered of the utmost importance, and even I got frustrated at times.


You make a very solid point here, this does sounds a lot worse :) - blabla
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[+2] [2010-12-01 18:39:04] glenatron

It is only natural to hate them, with their constant gripes, their complaining and endlessly just insisting on using the product you work on. What right do they have to tell you how to do your damn job?

But wait, what is this? Why do you have to use that convoluted series of steps to update the project references in your IDE? What right do those damn IDE developers have to make your life so difficult? You've reported it as a bug, or at least a big flaw in their design, but have they done anything about it? And that thing where it gets in a spin when you do some simple document parsing! Why it drives you up the wall... but could that be... is it possible? Surely not! And yet it seems that maybe you are a user too!

I hang out with a lot of people who play various roleplaying games - table top ones, D&D or whatever - and one of the things you find if you play these games run by other people and as you act as games master to your own games - is that the moment someone becomes a player it is as though their IQ drops by 50%. Normally smart people become instant idiots the moment they are playing a character in a game and do the most outlandish and ridiculous things.

I mention this because I think it's something that happens to us as users too. You are a genius at developing software, working with the interface, knowing all the shortcuts, it all just works. But the moment you are a user of someone else's, especially if it's not something you use the whole time, you become a fumbling incompetent - not because the software is bad but because you have become a user.

I think of it as user syndrome and it happens to all of us. The only way to know how your software will stand up to it is using significant testing performed by the type of people you expect to be using it ( and a few you don't ) prior to release. It won't prevent the user syndrome from striking, it will just mean you know a bunch of the things those crazy guys will do when they try to work with your product ahead of time and you can try to mitigate them...


Perfect answer, I think the psychological reason for the what you call "the user syndrome" is just the enormous amount of I-am-so-important feeling in everyone, which is bad, you know the whole "consumer" thing, trying to fill some "emptiness" inside you by demanding better-faster-easier life :) thanks. - blabla
Developers do not report bugs, they fix them! [Well open source people do anyway.] - Orbling
@Orbling, Really? Do they? Who are these vigilante developers? Not me! I just complain a bit to no-one in particular and work around the bug or find an alternative that I can get along with better. And I'm sure I'm not alone in that. I don't have time - or the expertise - to fix every bug in every piece of FOSS I use. Half the time if they're not that serious I don't even have time to report them. I have fixed a few, but compared with how many I have run into? A trivial number. - glenatron
@Orbling Perhaps I should have added the caveat that if a bug is not worth reporting, it is not worth fixing either. The time point could well be valid, I used to work 18 hours a day, 5 days a week, so understand that well enough. Expertise, a developer should have. - Orbling
I have the expertise to fix some things but when I run into problems with the WLan driver on my Ubuntu Netbook it's way outside my field of experience and the sheer time I would have to spend to learn about that codebase, low level device driver programming and the specific driver in question when my background is largely more web-dev oriented and mostly using memory managed languages, well it's not something I need to do. Not when someone who understands the codebase already can fix it in a moment. - glenatron
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[+1] [2010-12-01 18:18:34] Renesis

I see this same reaction to software feedback often. I think you need to learn to separate two very different parts of the user's feedback:

  1. The problem part. This is the interaction, the behavior, or the requirement that left the user confused or caused them to do something wrong and upset them.

  2. The suggestion part. Most users can't help themselves, when they encounter #1, from thinking that they know what should be done to fix it.

Often the developer's response to a user's 1-2 punch is going to be a little personal at first, and then they begin focusing on the #2. "Well, that is a ridiculous suggestion, it wouldn't work for the 1000 other people who use this software. So, this user is just dumb."

The good news for the developer is they art most likely partly right — #2 is probably a dumb idea (OK, I'm exaggerating, I mean it's probably not the right solution).

The bad news for the developer is their conclusion is wrong. #2 being wrong doesn't invalidate the problem part. A good user experience designer will consider any friction encountered by any user. If after investigation, the user really is an anomaly, it's fine to be discarded. But more likely, this user was just vocal about something that many users experienced, and probably blamed themselves or hoped they will just learn next time.

Any time you can reduce the friction your user's experience, you will help make your software more successful in accomplishing the users' goals. They will be more likely to use the software more extensively, more likely to recommend it, more likely to trust you, the developer.

If you think of it this way, you will see that the observation of friction or a problem is an opportunity, not an attack.


I think you hit the nail on the head. User's don't have an accurate model of how the software works internally, so they make what seems like weird suggestions. These suggestions make perfect sense based on their mental model of the system. You can learn a lot by trying to see it from their perspective. - Scott Whitlock
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[+1] [2010-12-01 18:20:50] Mike Dunlavey

I think you're describing a lot of us at one time or another, that is, in serious need of an attitude transplant.

Take a Dale Carnegie course. Seriously. You need it. I did.


I think that a lot of this happens because of the all "software is everywhere around you" part. I mean - the software is no more something that the users accept as "a big corporate thing" that they should talk about in a official manner (like when they go into a hospital for example), so there are a lot of "hey dude, add a button for XYZ coz I'm kinda lazy" stuff - blabla
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[+1] [2010-12-01 16:39:37] John Straka

You aren't a bad person. But consider that such nitpicking may just be angry venting on their part due to some other part of their job. So take a breath and try not to reciprocate it.


Yes, I know, I try not to get this personal but sometimes, I don't know, it just does, when I have been VERY dedicated to a project, thinking about what I have to do to make the life of the users easier all the time and then comes some of this. Thank you a lot John :) - blabla
I hear you, and dealing with unreasonable people is never fun. Just be glad the angry ones are outliers and not a majority of your users :) - John Straka
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[+1] [2010-12-01 16:57:27] Steven A. Lowe

To quote from the Programmer's Bible:

Thou shalt love thy users as thyself

Repent!

[just kidding; some users are jerks, most are just clueless]

One note: users that were not involved in the design of the software that they have to use are more likely to resent it, no matter how awesome it is.


very well said :) - blabla
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[+1] [2010-12-01 22:39:31] igor

1) just show how to use it and ask to repeat it (her/himself), then ask the question in polite form "do you understand?" any way it would not be your problem in the future.

Solution: maybe some additional popup text, tooltip at the first using of this feature will help

2) people are creatures of habit. some used MAC, otherone Windows and buttons are placed on the wrong place. just take a deep breath.

Solution: maybe some option, settings can resolve this: put OK button on left and Cancel on right or reversed.

3) oops. it is a bad day...stress...really it is not your problem.

Solution: visit him/her tomorrow or when this person really understood that (s)he should to do something and (s)he really need your help. (be 2-3 minute psychologist, no more)

"take a deep breath..."


thanks, but the problems with these solutions are 1) the user is confused with a pretty basic procedure. Someone else will be confused with the next one. If I add popup texts for each of this, the program will become a complete crap - imagine having tips and popups for each button in a program, all "normal" users will hate it, which is normal. 2) It's not an OK/Cancel, life would be much simpler if it was to that :) The idea is that the current composition DOES makes more sense, to me and to all users. 3) It's an e-mail feedback, can't visit them :) But thanks ! - blabla
@blabla I see you are in panic..:) 1) i wrote: "show popup at first using" and only for some critical places (i hate popups at all places too). 2) still take a deep breath and wait while tornado will gone. 3) feedback! no problem. I have an idea: try to meet this person with anyone (non-programmer person) who understand that this feature, program, form is good for many users and why. I think you know these people, otherwise start rewriting your program :) - igor
@igor - again: 1) I am not talking for a "critical place", it would be a UI weakness and not #1 in that case. Also, if I have to consider each one of those a critical place, it means that over time everything will become a critical place, because some users doesn't gets A, other B... 2) ok, deep breath is good 3) The user just sends an email about the app, what are you suggesting, to tell him "give me your skype, so you can have a nice little chat with a complete stranger that likes this app, both of you will spend 15 minutes talking about my program". This would make ME the annoying guy :) - blabla
@blabla 1) it means (please, don't take offense at this) the program is doing the (almost) similar actions in different ways, need more additional actions(chain length) then other actions...it's a problem, if don't - just skip those people, you cannot like everyone and vice versa 3) testimonial and FAQ (not F#YOU). :) - igor
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[+1] [2010-12-01 22:59:52] Jonas

You're a programmer. You like the code you write. It's only natural that you get irritated by people who criticize code for no obviously valid reason.

You have to learn, however, how to handle critique. First of all, rejoice that there is any feedback at all. The majority of your users will notice something's awkward, or wrong, and never say anything, because they're too used to poorly written software and GUIs, or because they don't think that mentioning it will change anything.

Second, not all feedback - whether positive or negative - is useful. Most often, you get useless feedback because the users do not know how to express themselves correctly. For example, they may say "this button should be blue, not red". WTF, right? However, the question is: Why would they want the button to be green? Maybe red meant "important" to them instead of "danger", so they clicked on the "kill all"-button accidentially. Maybe they're red/green colorblind and couldn't find the button that should stand out etc. In short, it is important to learn to find out what the users mean, as opposed to take to heart what they are saying.

Thirdly, feedback often says at least as much about the person giving feedback as about your program. For example, it reveals their complete lack of knowledge about how the program works - which tells you that the layout of the program is not intuitive to all, and/or that the documentation is not accessible enough. Or, it reveals that the other person is having a really bad day - in which case you just nod politely, offer some words of comfort, and forget everything they just said.


Cool :) thanks for 1. telling me that it is perfectly normal to feel that way from time to time and 2. the nice red danger/important example, that was a good example for a potential useful feedback discuised as #1 in my list, and can happen due to a lack of good explanation. you are right - blabla
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[0] [2010-12-02 17:16:33] Dal

Ahhh... the users who are automatically consider themselves as design gurus...

Enjoy: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/design_hell


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[0] [2010-12-01 17:31:20] David Thornley

The #1 user is pointing out a place where the UI is at least a teensy bit confusing. If you've got external customers, that's valuable. Lots of people will try your product and give up, or at least buy nothing further from you, and not bother to complain.

The #2 user is pointing out another small area where things might be improvable. Take a look at what they say. It may be that button X is to the right of button Y in most places, or that putting button X on the right adheres more to the platform conventions. They might be wrong, of course.

Both of these sorts of users are providing potentially useful information about the user interface, and many programmers are really lousy interface designers. The wording in your question suggests that you might be at least slightly blind to UI deficiencies, and improving the UI might lead to a lot more sales.

The #3 user is being absolutely useless. Make at most one effort to get useful information about that user, then say you'll be happy to listen when that user can be coherent, and hang up or whatever. It may be possible to get information out of such a user, but it almost certainly isn't worth the effort and stress.


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[0] [2010-12-01 17:31:55] Jeff O

I'm not going to excuse rudeness because you can always spot a low-class person by how they treat people trying to help them. As for those people who 'should' know how to do something and pick and choose what is important in a UI - they're paying your salary. Getting mad is not an option. You can train yourself to be and act like a professional.


thanks for telling me that I am a low-class person (because I don't appreciate when somebody helps me) and that I am far from professional, without even knowing WHAT are the projects that I have made, how they look like and what are the considered details implemented, just to make the user's life easier. You can be pretty good at being an annoying user mainly of the offensive and rude type #3, cheers. - blabla
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[0] [2010-12-01 19:37:02] Dorin Duminica

Yes, you're a very bad person, sometimes sh** happens or there are misunderstandings but YOU as a developer MUST understand the users(which sometimes doesn't even know how to write an e-mail) that they CAN ASK DUMP QUESTIONS or suggestions -- you must be reasonable and take it professionally either by trying to explain that they are irrational or by avoiding any conflict whatsoever by agreeing with them -- after all remember who pays for your stuff.


P.S. I'm NOT suggesting in any way that you need to ignore them or accept all BS, but you must take it with diplomacy!!


so you don't get angry if somebody asks you a stupid question, demands a stupid change or writes offensive stuff ? - blabla
Nope. Man up buddy. If you don't lose teeth over it, it's small potatoes. - chiggsy
@blabla of course it does, it affects each developer(a developers sees the app. as hes own child...) BUT as soon as you get offended remember it's all about making good products and you have to be transparent... - Dorin Duminica
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[0] [2010-12-01 21:22:50] chiggsy

What you are asking for, seemingly without knowing it, is submission. You want the users to submit to your perceived superiority, and you have a problem when they do not. I feel your pain. Seriously. I used to do phone tech support, although I never hated the users who phoned in, since:

It is your job to make it simple for them.

Otherwise you are worthless, because people don't buy code, they buy products. Ugly truth but in this context it must be said. I'm glad we can speak freely. As a programmer you are not the master, you are a tool. I hated the first time that truly hit me, and I hate it now.

This does little to change reality, as I found and you may find out. It takes an extreme amount of hate to change things even a little bit.

You have a couple of choices:

Force them to submit.

Or accept that they will not and design and write better software.

Alas, to force them to submit, you'll need a different set of skills: pyschology, politcs, anthropology and related. Be assured that being smart , or rather , facile at logic, which is a thing only invented in the last 1% of human existence is not enough to enforce submission, which is as old as the alpha male. Older in fact. That's why the smartest guy in the room tends to help the guy everyone gets along with.

Kirk, Spock. Who was the better captain?

Fictional show sure, but fiction made for popular consumption. You are Spock. They are Kirk. Sorry.

Might be easier to design and build better software. If you can't , then try prozac. It'll get you through the day, for yes, you are a sinner.


Hmmm, I am absolutely sure that this is not because of a need for superiority like you said. What are you suggesting, that if some cool and smart doctor or whatever uses my product, I am thinking like "back off you ignorant prick, I am far superior than you, because I made the button, and you are just using it!!!!!" So not true in the context of the question. - blabla
Heh, then continue along your path. Why worry? - chiggsy
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[0] [2010-12-01 21:56:27] Lucius

Take it on the light side.. and hold the following as a golden rule: :)

demotivational: customer service [1]

[1] http://www.despair.com/service.html

lol very funny :) - blabla
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[0] [2010-12-01 22:06:53] GrandmasterB

A lot of the source of the whining and complaining from users is derived from their lack of power. That is, they simply cannot do anything to alter the software and thats very frustrating (whether they are justified or not). They arent programmers. To a lot of users, programming might as well be black magic. or voodoo. Seriously. And a lot of users just arent very diplomatic about such things due to a lack of interpersonal skills. People complain about programmers not having them, but truth be told, its just as big a problem among non-programmers. Plus nowadays, it seems lots of people just arent able to write coherently. So when those people complain, you get what you are talking about.

You need to learn to live with it, and not take things personally. You cant have a thin skin. Especially if your software is heading out 'into the wild' into conditions where you dont control the environment. Problems arise, and yes, stupid people get a hold of your software. If someone complains, or leaves a bad review... well, ignore it and move on. The best you can do is try to decode their underlying problems and improve your application.


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