experiencing a bug as an end user

It’s been a long time since a software bug agitated me – one that I was hit with as a user not a tester. But I’ve had one I’ve been dealing with this past week.

In some ways it’s been interesting to feel like a user. To get whacked unexpectedly with a software bug that impacted my day and took time to resolve. Mostly it’s left me agitated and thinking less of the company.

Blackberry released an upgrade to their software and I took the release. I didn’t notice straightaway that the update stomped out my Google sync settings. Wiped out Google sync entirely, I had to reinstall. And impacted my Gmail, calendar and maps.

I keep my calendar in Google. My calendar is probably the most important, certainly most frequently used software I depend on. It took some time and effort to get things back on track.

I haven’t stopped asking myself – really? RIM didn’t think to test a cell phone software upgrade with Google calendar?

I could perhaps understand if it was some small unheard of company calendar software – but Google calendar. Really?

So a graceful solution might have been a warning message to users – hey, heads up any software you’re using that isn’t ours could be impacted – especially contact and calendar information.

A more graceful solution would be for one large vendor (RIM) to acknowledge what other software their user base is likely to have installed and done some testing.

Once I got through the calendar sync issues, I encountered issues with syncing my gmail. And previous locations were wiped off Google maps too. Obviously I’m a heavy Google user. And obviously RIM doesn’t feel the need to test their software with Google software.

One thing that I expect as a user is for software to play reasonably well with other software. RIM not working with Google software? An upgrade wiping out calendar, Gmail, maps and sync settings is not an upgrade, it’s an inconvenience.

I won’t want to upgrade my Blackberry the next time a release comes out. This is one way laggards get created – experiencing software not working well – this is what leaves people clinging to the old because some applications are tools that we use and not our primary focus of the day.

I think about users who might not have drawn the correlation of an upgrade from one company impacting software from another company – plenty of users would not. And it was more than a day from the upgrade until I noticed the first issue – a long enough time gap for an end user not to draw a correlation. This is all stuff to ponder when I think about end users and their reactions to bugs.

Once I realized one issue with non-Blackberry software, I started checking for other negative impacts. I mentally did not trust my phone software for several days until I tested a few sync settings and could see things working again.

I’m just about over the bug – but it’s been a week – that’s an impact. I had been a pretty happy Blackberry user but this loses major points.

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