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14 Surefire Ways to Annoy Users

So you're designing a new product and you want to make sure you infuriate as many customers as possible. Be sure to do at least a few of the following things:

  1. Force us to reboot our systems any time we install or uninstall your product.
  2. Automatically install into the Windows system tray and launch at startup.
  3. Force us to read the manual just to figure out how to turn on the damned thing.
  4. Pop up little reminders for things we don't want to do.
  5. Make tech-support contact information nearly impossible to find--or, better yet, don't include any.
  6. Install a bunch of extra software nobody asked for or wants.
  7. Automatically sign us up for e-mail newsletters and other announcements.
  8. Charge us $35 per call to speak to "Bob" in Bangalore when we have problems.
  9. Force us to upgrade products to get the same functionality we already had in the old version.
  10. Make us enter the same information (like e-mail addresses) multiple times.
  11. Require us to retype squiggly letters that are virtually impossible for humans to decipher when signing up for new accounts. (Note to Microsoft: This means you.)
  12. Force us to register products and/or nag us until we capitulate.
  13. Promise to remember our log-ins and password, yet still make us enter them every time.
  14. Insist on updating the product when all we want to do is quit it and go home.

More Ways to Annoy Users, From Our Community

bbrigg says: Number 15 in the surefire ways to annoy users: Have your install program install to an obscurely named subdirectory, and put icons on the desktop and in the quick-launch bar, as well as the root of the Start menu, without giving the user any choice in the matter. A lot of well-known programs do this.

Number 16: Force us to activate and then make us do it every time we use a well-known backup program. (Adobe, are you listening?)

gundark says: 21. When upgrading to a new version of software, insist that the old version of the software still be installed before upgrading. Do not allow a simple CD check for the old version.

Aoertel says: As soon as I clicked the link to read a list on "the most annoying products," what should I see? A pop-up ad wanting me to subscribe to PC World. Physician, heal thyself....

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