The Soapbox Papers

The Soapbox Papers is my two-cents worth.

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Location: Beloit, Wisconsin, United States

I am a cross between Tinkerbell and Calamity Jane.

Friday, March 11, 2005

No High Heels, Please!

My friend Joyce cannot hear. I cannot sign - at least , not very much -- in fact, very little. Still we have fun, go places together and are just -- well, friends.

Joyce had gone round and round with her computer. At one point her brother came to visit and gave her a new one. It came with a new operating system on it. I have 'heard' about it ever since. She asks if I can help her with some of the settings, if I can help her set up her e-mail, that sort of thing. I told her earlier this week I would take a look at it -- but as this week went the way it went, I don't think I can -- or if I actually get there, I don't know as though it will help her. What she really needs is to get her brother back here to set her computer where she wants it set, and give her what she wants. I don't know that he is a techie -- but he certainly broke Techie Rules for Dealing With Older Computer Users (OCU) Rules #1 and 2:

Rule #1 Thou Shalt Ascertain What it is the Older Computer User Wants

The main thing to remember is that the OCU most probably will not evolve into even a near techie. Someone provided a computer for this person (or she for herself) so she can stay in touch with her family and friends, explore the internet for fun, look up medical conditions and talk show celebrities, and play games. If she has a preferred game place, that should be respected and availability to it should be assured. She should also have available the easiest search engine and the easiest, most client friendly e-mail available. This may not be what she says, so techies are advised to ask. Then listen to the answer and go directly to

Rule #2: Thou Shalt Provide for the Older Computer User What Said User Wants, Not What Thou Thinkest Said User Wants/Needs.

This should go without saying, but it apparently needs to be said. Make sure the OCU can use the all programs on her computer that she needs, and that she can access all the sites she likes. Now, you may know that the OCU's preferred game place is a gathering place for viruses and other nasties -- but this is where she wants to play, this is one of the reasons she even has a computer, so it is better to just make sure she has access -- and also access to programs to check and clean out the viruses and nasties when she is finished with her game playing. She should be shown how to run the clean up and instructed to run it after each and every visit to such a place. You don't want to tell her she can't go there any more.

Give her the simplest e-mail available to her, and I don't care if it is on an operating system you don't like. This is her computer, not yours.

Don't give the OCU what you think she needs. LISTEN, and don't make me tell you about the woman, a victim of Tsunami, told those well intended folks who asked her what she needed, "no high heels, please!"

Smokey

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