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Bad UX can destabilize a country


Widespread farmers’ protests are happening in Spain (my home country) since last week. Tractors are blocking roads and city streets, bringing the country to a halt.

Checking the news, a protester’s banner caught my attention:

“I’m a farmer, not a computer engineer”


Intrigued, I wanted to understand what they meant with this (apart from the obvious).

It turns out that among the many reasons they have for protesting, one of the more significant is the horrible experience of dealing with the government’s online services!

Half of the work of a farmer nowadays is dealing with all the paperwork involved. And they are forced to do it through byzantine and dysfunctional government websites, that even me, an actual software engineer (and 0% farmer, as the garden can attest), have problems dealing with.

Imagine how horrible the UX is that it actually made people take to the streets!

So there you have it - ignore user experience at your own peril. While it’s unlikely that people will be rioting due to the bad UX of your product (I hope!), it won’t be due to your product’s lack of importance. It’s because, unlike with government services, people will have alternatives. When competition is but a click away, failing to prioritize UX will have tangible and painful repercussions.

We shouldn’t forget that behind every screen, every interface, there are people. People with limited time, varying levels of digital literacy, and a diverse array of needs and expectations. Our job is not merely to build digital experiences but to craft them with care, ensuring they are accessible, intuitive, and, above all, respectful of those who use them. This is something we always try to keep in mind for Chimnie’s consumer platform <> where the demographic is on the more mature end of the scale.

After moving to the Netherlands, I must say my experience with the Dutch digital bureaucracy has been better than the Spanish one. Still far from perfect, but much more serviceable. I really hope the Spanish government can take the hint and up their game on this front as well.