Workarounds Can Be a Valuable Solution

April 14, 2011

I’ve detailed in the posts It Doesn’t Work and It Still Doesn’t Work some of the unreasonable requests for help that I see on a daily basis. There are other situations where a valuable solution is posted and the person who asked for help rejects it.

Typically the question is posted claiming there is either a bug in the software or it doesn’t work as expected. Maybe they have identified a bug. My experience shows that in most situations it really isn’t a bug. Either it is user error or the software was simply designed to work differently than that user expected.

If a true bug has been identified, the feature obviously isn’t going to work as it should. In that case, the only possible solution is to provide a workaround. Most workarounds involve one or two extra steps, but still produce the desired results. Of course everyone wants the bug to be fixed and it probably will be at some point in the future. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help a user today. The workaround provides something that works until the bug is fixed!

Similarly, a workaround can help if the software isn’t working the way a user wants. Of course the user wants the software to be changed to work in the way they desire. That may happen, but again it is up to the software company to make that change. To get something working immediately, the workaround provides a solution.

In many cases, the workaround doesn’t take any extra steps and could be the best long-term solution. It is just a different workflow that the user was attempting. I’m always amazed when a negative reaction is given to someone who is providing a solution. The workaround may not be the desired solution, but it is indeed a solution to get the job done now.

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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