Using a Computer For the First Time

A Firefox UI designer went into a mall to conduct some tests and came across and older gentleman that has never used a computer before. What he found was something interesting.

I give him the same task: find a local restaurant. He stares at the screen for awhile with his hand off the mouse, looking confused. I ask what he’s looking for. “I don’t know, anything that looks like it will help!” he says. Finally, he reads the Apple context menu at the top of the screen, and his gaze falls on the word Help.

“Help, that’s what I need!” says Joe. He clicks on Help, but looks disappointed at what he sees in the menu.

What’s interesting about this is how much computer software and apps function on the assumption that users have an accumulated amount of knowledge. And to a degree that’s true. But reading this makes me think about writing and how sometimes I just assume my audience has a built in level of knowledge.

Funny that. Fascinating read from start to finish though. [via shawnblanc I think]

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