A while ago I was grumbling about the complexity of modern technology for many older people. What appears and appeals to the younger generation as the latest advance in easy living, is anything but to their grandparents. (See my earlier blog by clicking on TECHNOLOGY GAP in the TAG CLOUD).
What should and could be a revolution in enabling technology, more often leaves older people behind. Feeling less capable and more bewildered about how things work.
Telephones are a classic example. Many of the grandparent generation grew up without telephones in every household. Everyone knew how to use the public telephone boxes and all carried pennies in their pocket or purse. Soon everyone had mastered the phone, and it became a lifeline as families left home and moved away.
But the technology advanced. Operators and switchboards have long since disappeared – the new exchange is an automated robotic response of press 1 for this, press 2 for that, press 3 for the other – and if all else fails, press x and you can speak to a real person who wishes you would not bother him or her.
Stuck for a number you could use the telephone directory — if you haven’t torn it up 🙂 or used it to replace the missing castor on the sofa. Alternatively you could dial directory enquiries on 192. Now that too has been improved with extra numbers – 118 118 and higher connection charges.
Meanwhile, the latest phones have moved into the clouds. All pictures, apps, bells, whistles, texts and endless ring tones. 3G and 4G is as incomprehensible to the older generation as press button A and B is to their grandchildren.
The good news is that Age UK have launched a new simple mobile phone specially designed for older people. Touchscreen, big print, only eight buttons, and long battery life.
Recognition at last that there is a grey market that is worth investment. We need many more products to be re-engineered into simple, easy to use technology.