Frustration: Still a Common User Experience

Morten Hertzum, Kasper Hornbæk

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


When computers unexpectedly delay or thwart goal attainment, frustration ensues. The central studies of the extent, content, and impact of such frustration were done more than 15 years ago. We revisit this issue after computers have become more mature and computer use more extensive. To this end, we had 234 crowdsourced participants log the frustrating episodes they experienced with their computer during one hour of computer use. The average time lost due to frustrating episodes was between 11% and 20% of the one-hour period. Though this is less time lost than in the earlier studies, frustration remains a common user experience. While shorter, the median level of frustration during the episodes was high (7 on a 9-point scale). The frustration level correlated with task importance and time lost but was unaffected by computer experience and largely unaffected by computer self-efficacy. In addition, participants indicated that 84% of the episodes had happened before, that 87% could happen again, and that they were unable to resolve 26% of the episodes. This high rate of recurrence and lack of control likely added to the frustration level. The episodes spanned various issues pertaining to performance (49%), usability (36%), and utility (16%).
TidsskriftACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction
Udgave nummer3
Antal sider26
StatusUdgivet - 10 jun. 2023


  • frustration
  • time lost
  • computer self-efficacy
  • User experience

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