Why do complicated digital devices work for us?


Cropped shot of a group of colleagues using their smart phones in synchronicity

Phones and other devices are packed with functions and options, so many, we do not even use. Why are we not overwhelmed with it and why do we keep using and learning more and more functions?
Well, I have no clear answer to it, but observing this topic and my main topic together, I see a difference.
A difference in why older people need less functions, or options taken from them to be able to use the devices, and why the new generations implement their devices so well.

First, it’s the aspect “growing up”. Growing up with implemented systems and habits is easy and builds a general understanding of the system and new changes in the system. This is missing for the older generation as the invention of phones and computers was targeted to a younger audience making the gap even larger. So many years passed thinking older people won’t need it, no one teaching them, no one inventing a version for seniors…. Many years fell into this ignoring gap.


The second aspect is “the circle around”. If you have work, friends, entertainment and school around you, that basically forces you to use multiple functions of your devices, you learn to implement it into your life and work even faster with it. It really does make your life easier with more functions.

The third aspect that I see is “reachability”. A phone is small, thin and always in your pocket, making it very accessible. So much even that we unconsciously learned a habit-movement like reaching always for our phone, checking if it is still there, or any notifications or even the time without really reading the time. We even forgot the “Watch” movement, although it is coming back with the Smart-watches.
The fourth aspect is “repetition, memory and signals”. Having many sources of notifications that use the same device like friends, family, work or school makes us always ready for signals like ringtones, vibrations and so one. So we are aware of them and react to them so we constantly reach to our phone which gets us to “repetition”. As we learn all the smart touches and movements, those implement into our memory. We swipe, we zoom, we learn all those commands.

Older people are not in those circles, do not react or hear those signals and so they do not learn those smart touches and movements, therefore it never implements into their life as the “automaticality” or “automotoricality” never reaches a point where it is not hard to work with anymore.
So it is very important to work on their needs to make devices simpler for them without cutting them from families that are in those smart-device-circles. This will be in the next post.


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