"Stupid bloody system!" - new book

18 Aug 2010 - 8:26pm
973 reads
Jonas Söderström
2009

(pardon a little x-posting)

"Stupid bloody system!" That, approximately, would be the English title of my book "Jävla skitsystem!", just published in Sweden ... in Swedish only. (So far!)

If you can read Swedish, the book is available from here: http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789174370683/javla-skitsystem/

You who don't know Swedish: Read on or have a look at http://www.slideshare.net/Jonas_inUse/stupid-bloody-system

"Stupid bloody system!" is, of course, something that a lot of users have muttered at work; over computer systems, databases, intranets, enterprise systems, that are hard to navigate, and impossible to comprehend - but that they are obliged to use, nevertheless.

Users are becoming more and more frustrated: Why is it that although every new computer system is designed to save time and make work easier, we just get more and more stressed?

Indeed, stress in the workplace has been soaring since the mid-nineties, and has now replaced back pain as the primary cause of absenteeism. (Yet no one up to now has really been able to explain why.)

In the book, I show how bad computer systems have created several new kinds of work-related stress. Badly designed systems demand an unnecessary cognitive load. The biggest strain from computer work is no longer on your elbow or eyes; it is on your brain.

To a great extent, the traditional field of occupational health and safety has overlooked this. And even the people affected tend to blame not the systems, but themselves: "I'm too old. I guess I'm stupid."

Most of the cases I examine are Swedish. But (unfortunately) there seem to be no lack of international examples. One such case was the British CS2 system for the Child Support Agency. A parliamentary report later found that ”Sickness levels amongst the CSA staff have risen sharply since March 2003 when the system went live.”

There are ways to design, develop and implement good computer systems. Yet the book is not intended for programmers in the first place, but for the common user - encouraging her to cry "Stupid bloody system!" more loudly and more often.

/jonas

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