Americans really hate their computers — at least when they aren’t working properly. A new study commissioned by and conducted by Harris Interactive found that 52 percent of Americans are unhappy with their computers, and of those 94 percent say those problems are a source of stress.

Got to say, when GeekWire experienced some Internet connectivity issues earlier this week, stress set in. (I left the office in frustration, getting my stress out on the soccer pitch).

And just how stressful are those slow load times, crashes and poorly performing programs?

The study found that 47 percent of respondents found computer issues more stressful than choosing what to wear, while 27 percent said it was more stressful than a traffic jam and 21 percent said it was worse than airport security. Nineteen percent said computer problems were more stressful than dealing with finances, while 13 percent said it was worse than arguing with a spouse.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


  • Christopher Budd

    There’s a strong correlation between stress and powerlessness. If you look at the numbers you can see a clear progression away from situations with control and towards situations with no control.

    Personally, I bring this back to poor design and especially poor error handling. Those make it nearly impossible for regular people to make things work when they stop working.

    As an example, I got an error when trying to update a Windows system that “helpfully” said “Windows Update Error 800B0001”. If you look you’ll see that there’s no clear direction on what the specific problem is, this is one of those “I dunno, it’s broke” messages. In light of that, if you don’t know what’s wrong, how can you fix it? You can’t. That fuels a sense of powerlessness and creates stress (since most of us are trying to do something with our computer and the error is blocking that).

Job Listings on GeekWork