Is technology “improving” itself beyond usability?

MonGrumpHeadWorn out here on the update trail

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

The rock-face learning curve makes me CRAZY!

click image for source

click image for source

While the “continuous improvement” affliction has infected tech-tools across the board, the plague is at its most disabling in the computer realm.

I spend a great deal of time on my computer.

I spend SO much time staring at a screen that the rest of my life is screaming for time and attention most days. I’m beginning to worry that my keyboard and trackball will soon be fused to my hands.

I can’t help but feel, however, that my computer time could be reduced by at least half if the “continuous improvement” folks would simply let things BE.

The biggest threat to the Internet

Since I began sharing my expertise on, the large majority of my computer time is spent online, which only compounds the problem.

I just spent one solid hour attempting to accomplish something that could (dare I say “should“??) have been over-and-done-with in three quick clicks.  (Only two months ago it WAS!)

Forget worrying about a government invasion of our privacy at the individual level. They’ll never be able to figure out how to do it! (Advertisers will – and DO, more’s the pity: money talks. But boycott as a tool for change belongs to a different grump).

The deal with the government snoops

  • Since they have entire departments that most of us don’t, they’re probably back to snooping fairly quickly after each upgrade, but “continuous improvement” updates will slow them down.
  • No matter, either way — there won’t be much to invade during improvement snow storms, as the rest of us scramble to dig out and catch up. Who has time to post?
  • As soon as we’ve all got it worked out, the next wave of updates will force us all to begin anew.

Do I smell a conspiracy — or a counter-conspiracy?

Don’t forget that you can always check out the sidebar for a reminder
of how links work on this site, they’re subtle (scroll UP for it) ==>

Why ELSE all the “improvements”???

Methinks the cure has become worse than the disease.

Spammer and phisher security and safety updates are necessary and appreciated, of course, since it is against the law to hunt the buggers down and bludgeon them to death.

And I DO realize that it is impossible to remain viable as a business and test every single combination of conflicts with every single combination of computer, operating system, application versions run in tandem and so forth — and that’s before they factor in the level of user knowledge and experience.

I also understand that there are times when the release of brand new software designed to take advantage of technological advances requires every other software maker to adapt or die.

eady_New_On_StarsBUT COME ON!  How often are those really the reasons for an update or an improvement? Change simply to LOOK new and improved is maddening. 

It would be tempting to cite money as the underlying motive, but over half these changes are “free” to the user — except, that is, for the opportunity cost of learning how to USE the darned things.

While it’s fairly clear that developers barely check out the user side of the applications they develop or update (or they’d know better!), when I was in the computer field the golden rules used to be:

  • don’t release a half-baked version and,
  • whatever you do when you must issue incremental updates,
    leave the user interface ALONE

So many of today’s developers seem to believe that the rest of us have nothing better to do with our time but serve as unpaid and unwilling beta testers. (For readers too young to recall the good ole’ days, they used to test beta versions before release – and beta testers volunteered for the task!)

While it’s bad enough to be conscripted into the beta-test battalion, I wouldn’t mind nearly as much if they’d adhere to the second golden rule.

STOP moving my gearshift!

  • Once I habituate my “driving,” I don’t want my car replaced with one where everything is located in a different place.
  • Expecting me to figure out where to put in the key, roll down the windows and change gears – almost every time I’m forced to take the detour following one brief update click – drives me over the insanity edge!
  • Asking me to pull over mid-journey while they apply the “fix” I don’t even WANT makes me understand where the term “going postal” REALLY originated (Please close all windows and reboot your computer – sheesh! – NOW you tell me?)

So many applications, so little time

click image for source

click image for source of bozos

Like many of you, I use a great many applications – some daily, some several times a week, and some only occasionally. 

It’s tough enough to educate mind and fingers on the use of ALL of them without some team of bozos upsetting my fruit basket periodically just because they can.

Could you WARN us at least?

I wish there were some kind of global calendar that only allowed major change ONE day a month per application, website and blog — EACH on its own assigned day. 

If I knew in advance I might have a fighting chance of planning and staying on track!

Yesterday and today ALONE there have been:

  1. Several times my browser was hijacked by a script on somebody’s site that wouldn’t run and wouldn’t stop trying
  2. FOUR beep-beep-boop run-ins with the “improved WordPress Posting Experience” (where, the last time I was dumb enough to check, among many missing features, everything is in italics – except the italics!)
  3. THREE “update application now” notices
  4. TWO blogs I would like to interact with who suddenly decided a change of theme was in order (a little like moving the keys around on a typewriter and painting it another color while you’re sleeping), and
  5. An attempted visit to a [formerly] nice clean and highly informative web resource where the owner decided to “increase viewership” — information formerly available in one place is NOW scattered on Like my Page, Read the Books I’m Reading, #Follow# my #HashTags#, Watch me on Computer TV, and Connect with me on a [supposedly] Professional Linking Forum where I can market you to death.
  6. And don’t get me started on password perambulations and “prove you’re not a robot” screens!


If that’s what it takes to be online anymore, maybe I should take my football and go home, go get a rocking chair and get take up knitting! (And this is NOTHING compared to my troubles with cellphones!)

Let’s hear it from YOU

I invite you to dump YOUR Monday grumps and gripes
in the comment section below each of my own – related or NOT.

As long as you don’t make individual people wrong, and do your best to avoid the dreaded “should” word, I will approve all comers (link-spammers shot on sight, however).

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IN ANY CASE, do stay tuned.
There’s a lot to know, a lot here already, and a lot more to come – in this Series and in others.
Get it here while it’s still free for the taking.

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About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

15 Responses to Is technology “improving” itself beyond usability?

  1. Pingback: For all my Grumpy friends | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  2. I keep hearing that proper SEO doesn’t work or organic SEO is dying, could they be right about search engine optimisation?
    I will surely be returning, its a nice blog!


    • Thanks! Re: SEO – who *knows* what’s up with that. I’m over it!


  3. OSJBernadi says:

    Do you use blogs for inbound links? I was told by a friend that they are meant to be good but not sure if they are still goodpost panda
    Added a post on Facebook, hope you dont mind


    • I NEVER “mind” help getting the word out – so thank you.

      I’m not sure what you mean by your question. If you mean do I have additional blogs I link here, NOT REALLY. When I have time (which has been NEVER for 2014), I do blog on a couple of other platforms and those articles link here, of course.

      I, too, have been told that inbound links help SEO rankings (and to be SURE to provide them in the “form” when you comment on the sites of others – they link to you) — and DO comment in a manner that makes it clear you actually read their post!

      ADD to the conversation – blogging is a relationship environment — at least it is supposed to be.

      Do NOT include a “live” link (i.e., “clickable”) within the comment itself – a lot of bloggers won’t approve comments that do that – and many more only approve once you have a legitimate “relationship” with the blog (thanks to dirty-rotten link-spammers)

      YES – it takes a TON of time
      – which is why I’m always grateful when others help spread the word that this free resource exists, and so disheartened when they don’t. There is only so much non-billable time I can dedicate and still keep my lights on and a roof over my head!

      I DO pin each of my articles to my ADDCoach Wisdom Board (one of many, MOST non-ADD – click for examples) — some people find their way here from there. The last I heard, those are inbound links as well.

      I also pin related articles to boards that make sense (FOR EXAMPLE: my own sleep articles – different graphic – are among MANY other pins on Sleep, Sleep Disorders & EFDs) – where the repin rate seems to be higher.

      Sorry I can’t be more SEO helpful This blog is designed to HELP — I’m not really in it for fame and fortune. 🙂

      I have been conducting an experiment about whether or not ADDers would take the time to help spread the word about a FREE resource – but they really haven’t, which has broken my heart.

      I can’t justify any MORE time to spread the word about a free resource, so SEO is not something I will do for THIS blog (I will be developing another site designed to help me make a living – I WILL publicize that one.)

      My latest article, published Wednesday, ended with an announcement that, after feeling like I’m sending “messages in bottles” read by few, I’m ramping down on post frequency to be able to spend the considerable time I have been spending supporting for free HERE on other endeavors (most specifically, my books).

      For more info from those who claim to know what they’re doing, check out the repins on my SOHO, Pinterest, Blogs & Websites Board for advice. I’m not the expert on blogging or SEO, for sure! I can’t really vouch for the original pinners either, but it’s more than I knew before.

      I investigate their blogs as I have time, and have deleted pins that are nothing more than an excuse to market me.

      Hope this helps – thanks for YOUR support – and good luck!


  4. SusanT12ykj says:

    Do you subscribe to any SEO bloggers? I can never seem to get useful assistance on practical tasks
    Posted this to my Twitter, very good!


    • Thanks for the tweet. I don’t! Nor do I “subscribe” (too much email already) — but I DO follow a few. Seth Godin is a major guru I’ve followed for many years. Other names escape me at the moment. I’m CERTAINLY not the SEO wiz (and I actually resent “social networking”!)

      As I said in a prior comment on this article:

      For more info from those who claim to know what they’re doing, check out the repins on my SOHO, Pinterest, Blogs & Websites Board for advice.

      I’m one of the most knowledgeable ADD/EFD experts, but not any SORT of expert on blogging or SEO! I can’t really vouch for the original pinners either, but you can click from there to check them out. Come back if you find something amazing and let me know.

      Thanks for stopping by, reading – and for helping me spread the word.


  5. Enjoyable stuff, I re-designed my site and the rankings plummeted
    Had to add you to my reading list, keep up the good work


    • Don’t you just love the search engine rankings algorithms (NOT!)

      Thanks for your acknowledgment. If you will click on The Master Linklist linked HERE (always found on the right side of the bottom (lighter grey) menubar at the top of each page, you will be able to play catch-up. New posts will be limited for a bit, while I work on my books.

      Thanks for visiting — and taking the time to leave a comment.


  6. SusanT12ykj says:

    How come so many SEO professionals come in India? Or is it just they are the ones who are not employed
    p.s Never take guidance from people on the Warrior Forums 🙂


    • Capitalist imperatives – labor in India is cheap, so many companies (American Express, for one) have chosen to outsource their tech for YEARS. (So much for Republican insistence that corporations deserve tax breaks because they “create jobs”)

      In any case, an industry has grown up around the practice, so I’m not surprised that SEO gurus would be from India. ALSO, English is one of their “official” languages – so most are fluent.

      My neighbors are Indian grad students – quite brilliant – and just the nicest guys you’d ever want to know. The one with the best accent watched American movies and television to work on it. The brain can only learn what it is exposed to – why the linguists insist that they best way to learn a language is from a native speaker, not merely a fluent speaker.

      Thanks for reading, and taking the time to ring in.


  7. wendy says:

    HA! You are so right! Can updates be any more aggravating. The beep beep boop…well I just don’t go there. I got straight to my dashboard and post the old way. No I will not use your new “improved” way of posting. It is not improved. and hey…why can I not change the color of my font any more? I want to highlight something in a color….where is the color? umph!

    I have been grumpy. I have a few things to grump about. One thing is new and I’m going to post about it. doctor visits…ugh! I may post about a couple. Mindfulness is not working…well it is…I’m just listening to my feeling and trying to be non judgmental about it…I’m not far enough along to be able to be completely accepting of it is and not wishing it to be different. That will take time.

    I sound cryptic. I know. I’m too grumpy to talk about it. At least here.
    I should sound off on my blog.
    I was grumpy and decided to do a gratitude post instead…but think I should tell people what I’m grumpy about.
    I need to tell people what is going on in the world of Meniere’s.
    and after my doctor visit yesterday…well I really need to post about that! *eye roll* I’ve had some great experiences with doctors here, and then I had yesterday…Dr. Knifehappy, if I can’t “fix” it by cutting on you then there is nothing wrong with your hip. Ummm, there’s a lot more to my hip than just the bone. I actually said to him…”I could have been told this on the phone.” and “I bet this was your shortest visit today.” funny thing, I wasn’t really saying these things to be snarky or anything, just stating the facts. I realized later how they may have sounded.

    So Grump.

    (I have been one of those who have changed my Theme before….I hope it hasn’t caused problems. I always try to make it user friendly…normally more user friendly. and I hate those Captia things…what ever they are called…prove you aren’t a robot…Heck, moderate your comments. I can’t see the dang things, and I sure can’t hear it! So I won’t comment, and may stop following your blog.) Grump.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Wendy – we may be the only ones who are benefiting from a weekly Grump in that “misery loves company” fashion – maybe because our lives are more complex and frustrating than most yet we try too hard and too often to be positive and uplifting most of the time?

      I don’t know, but I certainly look forward to YOUR company!! Thank you so much for taking the time. I heave a big sigh of relief to see that you share some of my frustrations. Sometimes I feel like the rest of the world simply takes things in stride and doesn’t HAVE to try to be positive. (And that makes me Grumpy all by itself! ::big grin – it’s not Monday today::)

      Re: cryptic – not for me. I have read enough of your articles to “get it in code.” And I am SO with you on the misnaming of lack of empathy as “professional distance.” Doctors seem to have gotten colder as their fields advance in technology, and it makes me Grumpy TOO – even on non-Mondays!!

      lol re: “knife-happy” — surgeons do seem to be among the most arrogant and the least empathic in my experience. hmmmm – coincidence does not prove causation, but it does make my thoughts wander toward chickens and eggs!

      (approving & going “backstage” – this window is too small for me – I’ll be back!)

      RE: “if I can’t “fix” it by cutting on you then there is nothing wrong with your hip” – I wonder if they really THINK that or if they don’t realize that they come across as if they do.

      Since they’ve come up with the term “idiopathic” it seems to have given them a “get out of jail without thinking about it further” card!!

      CALLING ALL DOCTORS: “I can’t find the cause” does NOT, ipso facto, equal “no known cause”so please STOP speaking to us as if it does!

      Likewise, “I can’t help you within my skillset” does NOT mean “You can’t be helped” — so PLEASE take the time to develop the HABIT of being specific in your communications to those you have taken a oath not to harm. Take some time to read the studies from the pain doctors re: how what YOU say or do impacts pain perception!!

      THERE! I guess that changes everything, huh?
      (says she – observing and trying her best to simply let it be with little success today) Mindfulness is annoying sometimes, huh?

      Thanks for your always thoughtful comments and for taking the time to dialogue. Here’s to a good day for both of us and DEATH to captcha!

      PS. No, your blog is NOT one I was Grumping about — in my opinion you are one who DOES pay attention to improving usability.


      • wendy says:

        Oh I am so late in getting back to this….for some reason I did not get the notification to it in my email…or perhaps I did and lost it. I’ve been a bit lost lately. You can read how I’ve been having a bit of a hard time recently on my latest post.
        but you know some of it….ie. this hip doctor, but the physical therapist, I finally got in to, was wonderful. And I think I will be getting better.

        and yes I think that doctor was just a dick. sorry, I do think he was a surgeon and only thought in those terms, if I can’t fix it by cutting then you are not my problem. They sent out a survey about my visit and I told them that. so there! grump!

        My blog doesn’t ask for captcha right? [mgh: it’s never asked ME] it’s not supposed to. I approve certain people to be able to post automatically and new people have to be approved, but I see every comment shortly after it goes up anyway so I could rip it down if someone does something bad. So no captcha. I don’t want my chronically ill people to have to try to see that stuff. heck, I have a hard time seeing it, so what am I supposed to do? try to Hear it? haahaha yeah this deaf woman?

        I’ve lost readers recently. Noticed some of my regular commenters haven’t been by. but they do still follow. I searched trying to find people blogging about Meniere’s…there’s really nothing out there. There is this one guy, but I think he is irresponsible. But really no one. I feel I don’t blog in enough of a niche to keep people. Too many illnesses. and I’m afraid I’m just too all the same. I need to think about the message I really want to put out there. What I want it to be. Do I just want it to be a journal? Or do I want to be more of an advocate? and if more of an advocate….for what exactly?

        I’m rambling again….any advice?
        I feel I have more of a voice I’m not using, but then as I said in reference to your other post about compliments….I fear I’m not good enough.



        • Don’t worry about “readers” – they come and go for a bazillion reasons that have practically nothing to do with you. BE your gift – that’s my advice – dance like nobody’s watching.

          And don’t lock yourself in a box – that’s also my advice.

          What speaks to ME is how *much* you deal with, still managing to remain on course, and how many things you do to try to work around your challenges. The “open” blog format reflects that best, IMHO. If you were to focus on one format or one lens, I think it would dilute your message overall, oddly enough.

          The advice one reads around the net about reader statistics and SEO is primarily aimed at folks what are thinking of their blogs more as income streams than platforms.

          Say what’s on your mind. Your “more of a voice” will come out as you reflect on how to live your life against the backdrop of your challenges coupled with the lack of empathy and understanding around the world.

          THAT’s why people read your blog, IMHO. They want to know what you think and what you deal with, because you are so honest and forthcoming. It helps them to stop hiding.

          You are CERTAINLY “good enough” to share your story, right? That’s as “good enough” as you need to be.



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