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Use Error vs User Error

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Use error and user error are terms for a mistake that a user makes in using a technology. In many cases, such "mistakes" aren't due to any fault on the part of the user as a technology may be poorly designed such that errors are likely.

Use Error vs User Error

The term use error is meant to be an improvement over "user error" as it avoids the assumption that the user is at fault. In some cases, user interface designs or technology shortfalls are the root cause of mistakes in user input.
As an illustrative example, consider a steering wheel that doesn't behave as in other cars. The slightest move of the wheel results in dramatic turns. Most drivers would be at high risk of an accident using such a steering wheel until they are able to adapt to its unexpected behavior. The engineers who designed the steering wheel label all accidents "user error" as the steering wheel is working to its specifications. Labeling the incidents use error makes it more clear that the problem might be with the steering wheel as opposed to the drivers.
As a rule of thumb, if more than 1% of users make a particular error, a use error is certainly a poor user interface as opposed to a human error.
Use Error vs User Error
Use Error
User Error
A mistake that occurs as a person uses technology.
A mistake that occurs as a person uses technology.
A poorly designed technology or human error.
Human error
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Human Factors

This is the complete list of articles we have written about human factors.
Attention Span
Cold Logic
Color Perception
Decision Fatigue
Human Condition
Cognitive Biases
Human Error
Cognitive Dissonance
Human Perspective
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Human Scale
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Situational Awareness
Unforced Error
Fear Of Missing Out
Knowledge Waste
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Thought Processes
Trained Incapacity
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