Trender Research™

Technology meets people.

Getting the parents to jump on the technological bandwagon?

I've had a cell phone for over five years now, and I feel as if I'm a minority in my age group for that. My mother's only just gotten a cell phone last year, along with a projector, her first laptop, a new desktop, a video camera, and a digital camera. She still gets excited when the pictures show up on the digital screen. Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit, but the truth is that I feel the vast majority of the super-technology sits in my house gathering dust, or else she's yelling at my brothers for using the projector to play video games.

To her credit, my mother's always made it her business to make sure we (her children) knew the codes, the secrets, and the tricks to all the little do-dids and gadgets. I more or less owe all of my technological savvy to her. The problem is that as a business woman, and one of the busiest women I know, I'd like her to not only know how to navigate what she already has--and do more than check her email with her laptop--but be interested in learning about the next super computer she's going to buy instead of leaving it for the kids to decipher.

I myself get frustrated if it takes me an hour to figure out how to make a call on my new cell phone, but I'll never buy a phone that can do everything short of writing my college essays unless I'm determined to use everything. Mother dear is another entirely. Whether that means easier, more clear assembly instructions for the unsavvy, or simplified technology, something's got give.


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Comment by Dan Kusnetzky on March 28, 2009 at 6:12pm
At least part of the issue is that man suppliers see the creation of documentation as one of the final steps in creating a product rather than an important part of the design of the products. After all, if it is difficult to describe how to use something in simple language, it is very likely that that product is badly designed and too hard to use.

Another side of this is that many (my wife included) act as if very complex, multifunction devices should be so intuitive that there is no read to read the documentation. That feeling may be enhanced when an attempt is made to read documentation is is trying to paper over badly designed products.

Dan K

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