4 Hard Lessons for Older Adopters of New Technology

December 18, 2008

Whenever a person unfamiliar with modern technologies decides to jump in and adopt, there are a number of hurdles to be overcome. The difference between current technologies and older, non-digital (or non-software-based) equivalents (if comparisons even exist) can be difficult to grasp for the older adopter. The challenge is not insurmountable, but older adopters of new technologies aren’t always prepared for what lies ahead. Current technologies aren’t produced, marketed, sold, or supported like technologies were 20, 30, or 40 years ago. Cultural assumptions for technology knowledge and usage are radically different, as well.

So with the holiday giving season upon us, a time during which many younger users will gift new technology to those older, I’d like to highlight four difficult lessons such new adopters will often learn the hard way: Read the rest of this entry »

Fancy interfaces still aren’t enough

December 15, 2008

With all the fancy new touch-interfaces being introduced these days, I’ve noticed that many still require users to understand the system the interface is running in. In other words, while touch interfaces are billed as more “human” and “organic,” the user must still learn how to use them. To me, that’s not organic enough. Existing Personal Computer interfaces are why I felt I had to write The Ultimate PC Primer. A new “touch” interface that requires explanation and training, especially those that are simply touch interfaces to traditional software menus, don’t provide much improvement. An intuitive and organic interface is one that allows the human to be human, not to have to understand how to interact like a machine.

Think about an MP3 player. It doesn’t matter how neat the menu system is. That’s not the point of the device. I don’t want an MP3 player with nifty menus; I just want to listen to music. Read the rest of this entry »

Is our technology stable enough to use?

December 4, 2008

Oh, how many times I’ve asked myself that question while sitting in front of a crashed computer! PCs are known for their bugs, freezes, crashes, and “Blue Screens of Death.” I was chatting with a friend over lunch and learned that his digital camera had crashed with the BSOD! Personally, my cell phone has frozen, requiring me to remove the battery to “unfreeze” it.

Ah, yes…Technology! It is laden with errors and almost infamous these days for unreliability and frustration. Yet, we grow increasingly dependent, if not addicted, to it. It begs the question: is this stuff really stable enough for our world to depend on? Think about all the technology items we consume for the following: Read the rest of this entry »