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Adii Pienaar

Now working on Receiptful. Co-Founder & ex-CEO of WooThemes. Author of Brandiing. New Dad. Ex-Rockstar.

“Hey Software Maker, It’s Your Fault!”

“I know your software is broken. I tried to do this thing with it and it didn’t work. You should fix this; it’s totally your fault.” <...>

I encounter this interaction often and in many shapes and sizes. Which is expected, because Receiptful isn’t yet a mature product. And we definitely haven’t squashed all the bugs (yet).

But the reality is often times that the software isn’t broken. At all.

Instead there’s other sinister forces at play:

  1. The software didn’t do what the user expected it to do; or
  2. Something else (software or hardware) along the chain of experience was broken.

Neither of these cases means the software is broken or that the maker is at fault. Consider the possible remedies to address these sinister forces:

  1. Optimise the UI / UX to adapt to the user’s expectations or do a better job to proactively communicate what they should expect.
  2. Investigate the issue at hand in great detail, figure out who is at fault and explain that to the user.

The challenge with this is firstly that many users simply won’t even tell you that they think your software is borked. And they’ll just churn.

For those users that do tell you, you’re relatively the easiest target to which to point the finger. So you become exclusively responsible to remedy the situation. Even though this situation isn’t exclusively of your own making.

Making software that is used by others is hard work.

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