RealTime IT News

Tech Glitches Frustrate More Than a Few Users

The latest tech advances may be grand, but using the products is still proving to be a frustrating experience for many users.

A new study reports just about half of today's technology adopters, 48 percent, turn for help when it comes to device set up and operation.

And it doesn't matter whether it's the latest smartphone, paper-thin laptop or just home Internet service installation.

"Americans are not techies yet and are finding it a hassle to deal with technology gadgets and services," John Horrigan, associate director for research for Pew Internet & American Life Project, told InternetNews.com. This first "When Technology Fails" report by Pew, was released this week.

Users reported lots of technical glitches with devices over the past year, according to the report. Among desktop and laptop users, 39 percent said their PC failed to work properly at least once in the past year, and 29 percent of cell phone users experienced handset failures in the same time frame. The report noted that 26 percent using BlackBerries and other personal digital assistants encountered problems in the past year, as did 44 percent using home-based Internet services.

The data illustrates that computing and mobile device makers need to improve products and support programs, said Horrigan.

"This means manufacturers should be keeping the user in mind more. If users continue to struggle with technology they will have less incentive to use it," he said.

Where to go for help?

When a glitch happens 38 percent of users reach out to user support, 28 percent end up fixing the issue on their own and 15 percent got help from a friend or family member. Just 2 percent found assistance online and 15 percent never found help and were unable to fix the device, according to the report.

The technical failure experiences, for the most part, are leaving users a bit bitter about technology as 48 percent said they were discouraged by about how much time and effort was needed to fix an issue and 40 percent were confused about problem solving information provided by support programs.

According to the study, which polled 2,054 users, mobile phone users found fixes the hardest to find. Some 23 percent said they were unable to solve the issue, compared to 19 percent dealing with faulty computer users.

"The study shows people are not as savvy as we might think. They need help or they'll just get more frustrated," said Horrigan. "Vendors need to put more human interaction into the support equation."