Frustrating Computer Users Increases Exposure to Phyiscal Factors

by Carson Reynolds

Over the last two years, I’ve been collaborating with Jack Dennerlein of the Harvard School of Public Health. We’ve been examining how frustrating computer interaction changes how users physically respond. Using a web form I built to intentionally ilicit frustration, Jack found that some users exert significantly more pressure on the surface of mice. So much more, that users may increase their exposure to musculo-skelatal disorders. In short, frustrating software can cause users to hurt themsevles. These results are more formally discussed in a paper Jack submitted to the International Ergonomics Association’s 2003 congress, entitled Frustating Computer Users Increases Exposure to Phyiscal Factors.