Saturday, April 11, 2009

So simple *who* can use it?

Have to stop and applaud Stacey Higginbotham's post for GigaOm entitled Let’s Stop Confusing Moms With Technology-Fearing Simpletons.

Arguments in the comments aside on whether this is referring to gender, generation or time impoverishment, I hear this facile question along the lines of "is it simple enough that your mom could use it?" all the time. I, most of the time, shout out from my seat "Or your dad?" Most people ignore the crazy lady when she dares to speak from the audience like that.

I think it's a combination of gender and age stereotyping, personally. When someone says this, they're typically thinking about their mom, not the fact that they themselves or their peers could be moms.

But even this kind of age stereotyping needs to stop. While premier elderblogger Ronni Bennett might be surprised that numbers of boomer and older blog readers and writers aren't even higher, both the latest Pew report and BlogHer's own benchmark study from last year indicate that the over-45 crowd is adopting new communications and media technology very nicely, thank you.

So, yes, let's put this old saw to rest.

If you mean that your hardware, software or online app has handled accessibility issues well, so your friends with visual impairments or less-than nimble hands or other similar physical challenges can use it with no problem...just say so.

If you mean that you have created a tool that doesn't require intimate knowledge of HTML, CSS, PHP or other languages or technologies that people of all ages know nothing about...just say so.

If you mean that your tool or product has measurable value for someone whose life and livelihood does not require them to be online or even on a computer all day...just say so.

Just don't talk about my momma!

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Yes! Yes! Yes!
My (71 year old) mother teaches computer courses at our local community college, including Word, Excel and Access. :)
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