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why is smartphone difficult to use for old people?
#1
Title.

I am very suffering from teaching my mother and grandmother the usage.
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#2
it's a whole new thing that they're not used to
it's like learning anything

most people our age have grown up with technology everywhere so it's easy for us
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#3
It's because their minds process information a lot slower than ours of course.



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#4
(2019-08-28 15:59:01)TheWicked Wrote: It's because their minds process information a lot slower than ours of course.

*Cries in ADHD*
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#5
i learned how to use a phone and a computer when i was 5 years old, i feel like they are just stubborn and don't think they need to, or don't want to learn.
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#6
My grandmother was incredibly technology resistant, but she recently got a smartphone to try and connect with some of her family and friends who live overseas (she immigrated to Australia a long time ago, so a lot of her relations are in other countries and she hasn't spoken with many of them in a long, long time).

So, we got her a smartphone and took some time teaching her a few of the basics she needed to know. The first month was probably the hardest, she'd come over regularly to ask us "what happened" when she touched a random icon, and re-teach her things we had already been through. But! After that, I'm amazed how well she's taken to it. She now can do things we never even taught her about (such as checking the weather, her emails, setting alarms), and she hasn't needed to ask us for any more tutorials.

It's just really important to give them that initial support and be patient through the early stages of learning. If all goes well, after that they should take to it incredibly quickly Smile It's just a process of learning -- like with anything, and understandably it's much more difficult for them to start off with because they haven't been surrounded by that sort of technology growing up like we were.

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#7
Not everyone wants to spend a large portion of their lives looking into a tiny screen. I'm looking into this computer screen like 90% of the time when not sleeping, that's enough for me and is pretty much the main reason I don't own a smartphone. I don't need to look into yet another screen the times I'm actually outside looking at something else.

So for older people it doesn't always need to be about not understanding. Some people don't want that habit in their lives.
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#8
I have a strong disdain towards smartphones. They remove us even further from personal social interactions. So I agree with IcyMind, maybe they just don't want to bother figuring it out because they don't care about using it. Then again, older people are generally unfamiliar with how newer technology works.
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#9
As you get older, things are harder to process and commit to memory, such as using smartphones. It may be cringy watching your dad type at 1WPM while looking at the keyboard while doing so, but let's all remember that we had to go through learning the ins and outs of electronics at one point in our lives, and as kids, we absorb knowledge much more quickly. Boomers and zoomers are different entities.
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#10
There are really several factors interacting here, which really apply to any modern enough technology, not just smartphones:
  • The technology is completely foreign to them, and thus their learning curve is very steep at first. This means that the initial effort they have to spend in familiarizing themselves with it is far larger than average.
  • New technologies deal with concepts that they just have never heard about (or understood) before. Imagine finding out right now that Facebook exists — you wouldn't understand a single thing about it and you'd have a million questions. This is not merely about functionalities or features; modern technologies contain a significant number of completely novel concepts for people who have never dealt with them before.
  • This ties in with the fact that abstractions are hard to learn. Abstractions are ultimately what define our problem-solving skills — studies have shown that human intelligence begins diverging from that of monkeys when children gain basic literacy and numeracy skills, which are the first two forms of abstraction anyone learns: that words and numbers exist and have a certain meaning. Pick up any children's book and you'll inevitably find simple words like "car" being written next to a picture of a car, or numbers like 5 being written next to five small objects — this is because abstractions are hard, and thus they need reinforcement to be learned. The same applies to virtually any abstraction you come across. In the case of a smartphone, for instance, novice users will often understand the icons for "things" they use, like Facebook, messaging apps, etc., but they won't be able to think "this is an app", because they don't understand the concept of "application" (an abstraction) yet. It's easy for an experienced user to close an app they open by accident, even if they don't know the app, because all apps are closed the same way. And you can teach a novice user how to close an app. But as long as they aren't able to understand what an application is, and therefore recognize that the thing on their screen is an application, they can't close those "weird things that keep showing up on screen" because they aren't connecting the abstract knowledge (an app is closed this way) with the concrete case in front of them.
  • There is also the issue of resistance. People hate changing the way they do things, mostly because learning is hard (see the previous point) and because they aren't sure of the rewards. People intuitively know the effort that it will require them to understand how to use these new technologies (while they sometimes overestimate it, that estimate isn't as far off as it may seem), and thus they expect to see a very large return on that spent effort. Instead, they see a very small perceived value for it — most of the time, the motivation behind learning to use some new technology is doing something in a better way, i.e., solving a solved problem. (For example, they already have ways of keeping in touch with people –ranging from letters to phone calls– that work for them; instant messaging is simply a better way of achieving the same goal, and it's hard for many to see how much better it will be.) This leads them to attempt to minimize the effort spent (e.g., the very common "I just want to do X, not all of this stuff you're showing me"), which in turn hampers their ability to learn how to use these devices successfully.
  • Even when they are willing to learn, their previous experiences work against them. This is where the generational gap plays a very relevant role. Some decades ago, expensive and complex machines were very easy to break and very hard and expensive to repair. Your average typewriter will get stuck if you press two keys at once, and could break if you pressed them too hard; old TVs required tuning that many people didn't know how to perform; in general, users were much better off not messing with unknown features of anything they owned. On the other hand, modern devices (pick your average computer OS, smartphone, etc.) are much harder to break by accident, and searching for useful features in them is encouraged. Older users, who are used to machines and devices of their day and age, will understandably be afraid of trying out features they don't know about, even if those features have obvious labels — looking for a label that is related to what they want to do and trying out the relevant feature is something they never learned to do, and messing with features they don't understand is something they will have explicitly learned to not do. Unlearning behaviors is far harder than learning them; many of them never lose this "anti-exploratory" behavior, and will only be willing to use features they have been explicitly told about, even if a feature that does what they want is right in front of them.
  • Coupled with the previous point comes the fear of missteps. Most modern devices have hundreds of features, and thus contain ways of navigating those features. These serve as aids for users to find the features they want — for example, my smartphone has 87 icons in the apps menu; the navigation in this menu (in my case, app folders) is what lets me open them, as it would be nearly impossible to remember long chords of commands to access each and every one of them. However, navigation presumes goal-seeking behavior — in other words, finding a given target (an app, a menu item, etc.) based on a certain goal (e.g., wanting to send a message). People who only use the features they know about will often never learn about the navigation, and instead learn only the specific sequence of commands (including navigation commands) that lead them to specific goals (e.g., "to print a document, go to the File menu, select Print, pick the printer, click 'All Pages', make sure it says 1 copy, and click the 'Print' button"). These long chords of commands are nothing short of terrifying for them — not knowing how to back out of a mistake (since they don't fully understand the navigation, concepts such as dialogs, or sometimes even the fact that options in a dialog can be selected in any order), their only solution is to memorize the whole chain (or even worse, write it down) and hope they get it right every time. Any mistake will almost invariably lead them to restarting the whole chain (instead of noting, for instance, that they can just select the right printer and keep going), which makes them very afraid of making a mistake somewhere down the line and losing all progress towards something that is, to them, a complex task.
  • Learning every task as a long chord of commands and being afraid of mistakes and new features makes them unable to solve problems by themselves. There's that one xkcd comic about how to get things done with technology, addressed at the kind of people I've been talking about. That flowchart seems so obvious to anyone who has been using modern technologies for a while that we've all probably given the same instructions to other people in exasperation after their five hundred thousandth inane question. However, that flowchart is probably the furthest thing in their mind. Literally every step in it goes against their nature, for the reasons I've explained above: it asks them to find a feature they don't know about, try features they are unsure of, expect some steps to fail, and even to look for instructions online which they probably won't understand, let alone trust. This last item can be particularly problematic, as they don't have the practice that lets them tell trustworthy websites with good instructions apart from ads, scams, unrelated problems and random websites with zero credibility. All of this renders them completely helpless under virtually any unexpected situation, leading them to do the one and only thing that has ever worked for them: call the person that taught them and ask. Every single time.
  • Last but not least, there's the cognitive load of using virtually any modern system. Any modern interface is full of inputs of one kind or another (buttons, text fields, list pickers, etc.) and lots of information that is completely unrelated to the task at hand. Experienced users have a form of selective blindness (i.e., the ability to completely ignore irrelevant components, to the point of not noticing their presence) that allows them to focus on the task at hand without issues — I doubt anyone reading this post was paying attention to the browser address bar, for instance. This ability to ignore unrelated components comes with practice — to a novice user, the interface is full of information and buttons and weird inputs that can do lots of things, and the cognitive burden doesn't let them focus on the components relevant to their goal, since they don't know where to focus. In turn, this feeds the fear of exploring and making a mistake mentioned in the previous points. Pick your favourite word processor and try to make some text bold — you'll know how to do it immediately, but to someone who has never seen anything similar, the bold button is lost amongst the dozens of buttons in the toolbar and will be completely invisible to them.
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#11
(2019-08-28 23:59:03)Ena Wrote: My grandmother was incredibly technology resistant, but she recently got a smartphone to try and connect with some of her family and friends who live overseas (she immigrated to Australia a long time ago, so a lot of her relations are in other countries and she hasn't spoken with many of them in a long, long time).

So, we got her a smartphone and took some time teaching her a few of the basics she needed to know. The first month was probably the hardest, she'd come over regularly to ask us "what happened" when she touched a random icon, and re-teach her things we had already been through. But! After that, I'm amazed how well she's taken to it. She now can do things we never even taught her about (such as checking the weather, her emails, setting alarms), and she hasn't needed to ask us for any more tutorials.

It's just really important to give them that initial support and be patient through the early stages of learning. If all goes well, after that they should take to it incredibly quickly Smile It's just a process of learning -- like with anything, and understandably it's much more difficult for them to start off with because they haven't been surrounded by that sort of technology growing up like we were.

Wow this was really wholesome
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#12
(2019-08-31 13:31:55)Ali Wrote:
(2019-08-28 23:59:03)Ena Wrote: My grandmother was incredibly technology resistant, but she recently got a smartphone to try and connect with some of her family and friends who live overseas (she immigrated to Australia a long time ago, so a lot of her relations are in other countries and she hasn't spoken with many of them in a long, long time). So, we got her a smartphone and took some time teaching her a few of the basics she needed to know. The first month was probably the hardest, she'd come over regularly to ask us "what happened" when she touched a random icon, and re-teach her things we had already been through. But! After that, I'm amazed how well she's taken to it. She now can do things we never even taught her about (such as checking the weather, her emails, setting alarms), and she hasn't needed to ask us for any more tutorials. It's just really important to give them that initial support and be patient through the early stages of learning. If all goes well, after that they should take to it incredibly quickly Smile It's just a process of learning -- like with anything, and understandably it's much more difficult for them to start off with because they haven't been surrounded by that sort of technology growing up like we were.
Wow this was really wholesome

you're really wholesome



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