Parents…Your First Clients

New technology is exciting! It means improvement on the previous technology and a bunch of cool new features. Most of the time new technology is faster, more powerful, and more efficient than the previous technology. To a tech person, adoption of new technology comes easy and fast. In this field, it is known that new technology is being developed daily. What might have been cutting edge, and the new thing 2 years ago, might not be so relevant now. The real challenge with new technology is whether or not clients will take to it and how you will get them to take to it. To non-tech people, the user experience is more important than updates, and new specs. Although I personally do not have any work clients that I’ve had to introduce to new technology, I do have personal “clients” that I’ve had to introduce. These personal “clients” are my parents, and the results of the adoption varied. Sometimes I’ve found that it’s better to not show them how to use new technology…

Other times it’s extremely necessary. 

When it comes to introducing new technology to my father, everything is so simple. The process I go through with my father is one that I believe I should go through with everyone. He’ll ask me questions about the new technology; what it does, why he needs it, and how to use it. I proceed to answer said questions, and if he’s convinced he needs it I proceed to teach him how to use it. I usually have to walk through the process of teaching him 2-3 times max. Which is understandable and not frustrating at all. After those 2-3 times, he becomes a pro and is able to use the new tech independently. This makes my life easier, and it makes his life easier because he likes it, and understands how to use it. He is willing to adopt it and make it his own. My mother on the other hand… Let’s just say the process isn’t so simple.

With my mom teaching her how to use new technology is a long process. This includes multiple tutorials, and her calling me up just to ask how to do something fairly simple. For this post I’m not going to talk to about her issues with computers, I’m going to talk about her phone. My mom lives by the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” when it comes to technology. Especially when it comes to her phone. My mom has an iPhone 5 that still runs ios 7 (Which she still hasn’t really mastered). The reason behind this is because she simply doesn’t want to update her phone or get a new one for that matter. I try to tell her that her phone is so behind, and compared to the speed of my own, she is far behind. I try to tell her about all the cool new features and abilities of the new ios or even new iPhones, but she still won’t budge. Her stance on this matter shocks me because, to me, I’m telling her all the important things about why she needs this new tech and it still means nothing to her. So I decided to do a little deeper digging into why she was so resistant. My mom was pretty simple on her phone, she made calls, listened to music, read her bible app, took pictures, and used alarms. She could still continue to do this with a new phone let alone with the new software. I asked her if she ever updated her phone before, and maybe if she tried it she wouldn’t be so resistant to it. She told me that she had updated her phone once, and because of that, she lost all of her music and videos. I was confused at this response and asked her what she meant, her music was backed up onto her laptop after all. Turns out she uses an app that caches Youtube videos, and that was the music she lost. When she updated her phone the cached videos were not backed up. She then also informed me that with the new app update for that app they changed their policy. The app no longer allowed you to cache videos from Youtube. To her, the loss of this one feature was way to valuable of a trade off for new software. I failed to take into account her user experience, she was resistant to adopt the new tech because this was more important than a faster or better phone.

This happens to a lot of IT workers in the workplace. They overlook what’s important to their clients because they are so amazed by the technical aspect of the new technology. Users carry their past experiences with technology which can be good or bad experiences. As with my mother she had a bad experience so she is now resistant to changing to new tech. It’s important to analyze their fears, and find a way to manage those risks, and help them safely transition to the new tech.


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