Why Do People Make Mistakes?

Why Is Accuracy Important?
October 10, 2018
What Are Competencies?
October 23, 2018

Most errors happen in the perceptual or visual aspect of working with data. It is not a keying error – or a slip of the fingers – that makes $369.23 turn into $396.23. The problem lies in how we look at and read the data. Between our eyes and our brain, the 6 and 9 are reversed. While most people refer to data errors as “typos,” we call them “eye-pos” to underscore that these errors are not caused by incorrect fingers on the keyboard, but rather incorrect reading of the data.

As young children, we are taught how to read words and sentences in a manner which helps our brain make sense of information even if it is out of order or misspelled. For example:

When we wree in schol we lernaed how to raed words. We were also taught how to recgnoise numbers, but not how to raed data.

You can porbabyl  raed tish setnenec even though most of the words are not speelld coerrctly. We tend to raed numbers in the same way as we raed words.

But when we raed numbers, we need to see each and every dgiit. A digit’s ecxat position is crciul.  We have to percvceive every digit precisely if we are to be auccrate.

You most likely were able to read that fairly easily, even though most of the words were misspelled. Unfortunately, most people read data the same way they read words which creates opportunities for mistakes such as:

  • Transposing numbers and letters.
  • Omitting repeated digits.
  • Inserting too many repeated digits.
  • Placing decimal points or other punctuation in the wrong place.
  • Omitting the data altogether.
  • Grouping letters or numbers in clustered data incorrectly or inconsistently.

Typical Errors Made

  • Inputting $593.45 instead of $539.45.
  • Invoicing a customer $200 instead of $2,000.
  • Shipping a product to an incorrect address.
  • Using reference 29985 instead of 299985.
  • Putting the wrong batch number on a product run.
  • Applying the wrong amount to the wrong account.
  • Writing to Ms. Jones instead of Ms. Johans.
  • Calling 498-773-2223 instead of 478-773-2223.

Evoke Development teaches a variety of data reading techniques and helps individuals answer the question of “what should be going on in my head when I am working with data?”