Remember those days when people were impressed when somebody pulled out a smartphone? Everyone would crowd around that person asking them for a demo of what could be done with the device or how much it cost them. These days, you get the same reaction when people pull out their ‘dumbphones’ – and instead of asking them how much it costs, we get questions like ‘why are you still using that phone?’
Consumer tech has come a long way over the past decade or so – smartphones and tablets are devices that can be found in pretty much every home now. And while it took the older generation of people some time to get used to it, kids and millennials have no issues picking up and learning how to use new devices. I was wondering about this to myself – is there a reason why younger folks have an easier time picking up technology?
I’m not young, and there are plenty of older people out there who are well versed in technology – so it’s not an age thing. It wasn’t until I listened to a podcast earlier today where the topic came up and the guest said something that made sense: people learn better when they are curious.
Think about your time back in school – for all those subjects that you did the best in, were you keen on the subjects and/or did you have fun teachers? I know I did. Young people and children haven’t experienced much of what life has to offer. They are impressionable sponges, and since they know nothing, they tend to be curious about everything and absorb all that they are exposed to. When it comes to learning how to use a new device or app, it’s almost second nature to them. And the fact that user interface design has become more natural and intuitive over the years helps with this.
When you’ve been alive for so long and seen everything the world has to offer, you’re not impressed by many things. You’re set in your ways and you’re not keen on wasting time relearning basic tasks such as using your phone. This is probably why most of the older generation aren’t very tech-savvy.
As a young boy, I was in love with computers. I wanted to know how they worked – I even ruined my PC many times in the process. And it wasn’t just hardware, I enjoyed tinkering with software as well. Whenever I launch a new program, I try to click every available button onscreen just to see what happens. After all, what’s the worst that could happen? Nothing. The best? You figure out how it works or some new functions you didn’t know existed.
One of my favorite things to do whenever I use a new program is to figure out all the shortcut keys for important functions. I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t like to lift his hands from the keyboard just to perform a simple function. If it can be done with a shortcut, I’m using it.
So whenever I hear people telling me that they don’t know how to use a program or app, I get annoyed. Just click on every button you see, you’ll eventually figure it out! It’s not rocket science. Note that this advice probably doesn’t work if you’re using some development software – but if you were, figuring out how to use a program wouldn’t be a concern so that’s a moot point.
It’s the same thing with phones and tablets these days. Feel free to touch every button on the screen. Assuming you understand the language your phone is set to, it’s all pretty self-explanatory. If a four-year old kid can use a tablet without being told how to, you can do the same. It’s whether you want to or not.