If you're reluctant to software updates, you're not alone. Why should you? Do you have to?
To continue successfully using the software or system you are using, you do need to update it.
As the software provider, it is essential to keep up with updates so that there are little interruptions and issues.
As a user, it is important to run the updates to keep your specific system secure and functional.
4 reasons why you should keep your software up to date:
1. Security Threats
The number one reason why updates are so important is because of security.
Hackers are constantly finding new ways to work their way into your personal information.
As technology advances, the newer, most up-to-date software has yet to be discovered by hackers... therefore, more secure.
If your software is not continuously maintained and enhanced, it eventually will die. Slowly but surely.
You will first have small issues. then the small issues will get bigger, and bigger, until the software is no longer functional.
Keeping the software up to date will maintain proper loading and processing speeds.
Few updates are solely for new features or changing the user experience. They are typically made to ensure that the software continues to play nice with other applications and operating systems.
3. New and Improved Features
Some updates simply fix minor "bugs" to ensure the system continues working properly and stays secure.
But other updates include brand new features.
New features grow the software to enhance the overall functionality.
Without new features, will the system still engage users?
And that leads me into the next point...user engagement.
4. User Engagement
Although it can take some time to adapt to the update, it is often times more user friendly.
If a software provider is rolling out an update, it is to improve the system. Which means - you as a user will benefit.
Interface updates can make systems much more visually appealing and easier to read.
On the flip side...
What are the effects of stagnant software?
- Poor performance
- Bored users
What does the most up-to-date software include or entail?
Everyone is different. Each software company uses different number schemes and release schedules. Some vendors will release updates on a schedule (nightly, weekly, monthly, etc); typically a more mature product will have a longer release interval. This will affect version numbering, but everyone increments up, so the higher the newer.
Some companies will have broader requirements than others, again that is usually a business decision regarding how much backwards compatibility they are willing to provide. This could be used to gauge the freshness of software if a release drops compatibility for an older system or increases the version of the requirement.
Outside of version numbers and release dates the best way to judge freshness is by using the software. If it looks and acts like other modern software, there is a good chance it is being maintained.
What are a couple ways you can tell that the software you are using is secure?
On the web, their browser should tell them whether or not the site they are using is communicating of a safe channel. Outside of that, their safety is at the mercy of the vendor. Some companies will provide details on what they do to protect their users’ data, other will provide finding from an independent auditor.
Are there any red flags you can look for in a system to know that it is NOT user friendly? And the opposite - any way you can tell a system IS user friendly?
Not user friendly:
- Cluttered interface, trying to cram too much information on one screen
- Not intuitive, users cannot figure out process flows on their own
- Little to no on-screen instructions, vaguely named fields with nothing explaining what they are for.
- Lots of steps, excessive amount of clicks to complete a simple task
- Simple interface, workflow is clear and users can easily navigate to their target
- Intuitive, users require no to minimal training to be able to complete required processes
- Fields have descriptive names and/or there brief, simple instructions for it
While updates can be intimidating at first, they usually create a better experience for the software you are using. Try to keep an open mind and understand that software companies are not trying to make things harder when implementing updates. They are trying to make the system easier and safer for you.
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