User Blaming

The IT industry has its own version of victim blaming. I call it user blaming. That is what happens when you build an IT system without proper regard for the users’ reality. When the purported benefits do not materialize, the vendor points to the convoluted and impractical instructions given and claims that if only the users would follow the instructions, the system would work as advertised.

I was reminded of user blaming this weekend. I had worn out the burrs on my coffee grinder, and as is sadly often the case, a replacement part was more expensive than a new machine. Being a professional, I always read the instructions. They told me to clean the machine after each use. Since I only grind what I need, that would mean several cleanings a day. And the cleaning involved six steps, washing everything in lukewarm water, emptying out the beans, disassembling the grinder, cleaning the burrs with the supplied cleaning brush, and much more.

That is an abdication of responsibility. Just like when an IT vendor provides unrealistic and impossible-to-follow CYA instructions. Take responsibility. Build a quality product that works in real life.

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