When Dealing With Technology and People Over 50

teaching technology to people over fifty

Five things we can do to help those over 50 with a difficult technology situation.

 

It seems every child is born with the ability to instantly understand our increasingly technological world. 

My granddaughter could hack all of her parents’ devices when she was 19 months old.  Literally.  She memorized their passwords and got Siri to show her kitty videos.  

And when they changed their passwords, she figured out that a dozing parent’s thumb would open the device anyway so they could be awakened with the happy sounds of even more kitty videos (or were they baby goats?). 

And this seems to be true of all children growing up in a world full of technology.  They get it.  Why can’t we?

So here we are, the forlorn who are over 50, the downtrodden who grew up without computers much less smartphones with more computing power than the Apollo astronauts had at their disposal (and they got to the moon).  And we find ourselves with no choice but to gear up, to smarten up, and to get with it.

As a small business owner, you might be really good at what you do, but these days you also have to be technically adept for just about everything that touches your business from setting appointments, conference calls, reports, spreadsheets, accounting, marketing, social media promotions, performance reviews, order forms and seemingly everything else.

A friend of mine was confronted with a particularly confusing task to complete on a poorly designed business software package and she was literally crying with frustration when her nine year old walked past her home office and came in to console her Mom. 

She asked her Mom what was wrong, she said she couldn’t figure out how to do something important, and when the Mom told her the specific problem, the girl took control of the mouse and placed it over a word on the screen that wasn’t highlighted in any way, but when she did so, a drop-down menu appeared that the Mom had been looking for. 

She didn’t know the menu was there, but knew that it might be.

When I say this business program was poorly designed, I mean that it was developed by a team of twenty-somethings who think everyone should automatically intuit everything that they do.  Guess what, you self-absorbed and arrogant twenty-something, others do not.  Particularly us over-50’s.

But rather than spending our time being angry at bad programming and wishing that User Experience experts would actually study their products before inflicting them on us.

Next page- 5 things we can do to help those over 50 with a difficult technology situation.

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About the author

Carlos E. Garcia

Carlos E. Garcia, born to Mexican immigrant parents, grew up in East Los Angeles and attended Pomona College, UC Berkeley and National University (BA, MA and MBA respectively).  He has over thirty years of experience in the field of US Hispanic consumer research, twenty one years at the helm of his own company, Garcia Research.  Most recently  SVP at GfK: Knowledge Networks, where he headed up their Hispanic research efforts. He's gone full circle and now back at the helm of Garcia Research, a Hispanic market and Multicultural-focused research firm.

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