Overcoming technophobia

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Your team members with technophobia

Are there members of your team that look at technology with contempt.
A thing they think will just be a cause of confusion, head scratching and bewilderment. A team member with memories of interacting in the early days, in the days before advances in a good user experience was taken into account.
If they only knew technology could make life so much easier for them and is there to help.

Could it be they are not convinced because of:
1. The amount of time-saving will not be greater than the amount of time it will take to learn.
2. They don’t believe they have the ability to learn about computers.
3. They have had a bad experience in the past.
4. They feel too old and technology is just for the young who now have a magical ability pre-programmed from birth.
Taking a look at the definition although I don’t think it’s a hard one to figure out, I believe we are well aware of any word with the term ‘phobia’ in it.
If we look at the definition of technophobia we can see that the Greek word ’techno’ meaning “Art, Skill, Craft” and ‘Phobos’ meaning fear.
Put them both together and we have technophobia, which means dislike of advanced technology or complex devices, especially computers.


The causes

What causes these irrational thoughts?
Well, it could as previously said, maybe the person had dealings with computers in the past, tried to use them with little or no training leading to much frustration and not the expected end result.
Another scenario may be, they had a very impatient teacher that didn’t concentrate more at the students time of greatest need. Could it be that the person is a Luddite supporter and a hater of all advances in technology with the mindset that is convinced robots will take over the world?
Trying to achieve a cure
So what can be done to convince a team member that a change of heart or a new way of thinking is worth the effort? From a personal point of view, three things stand out as straight away that need to be in place.
* The need to convince people technology is there to help in all its many ways
* Systems you can always navigate to the start no matter what point you’re at
* Systems that give you on-screen help

Cleansure offers a demo site for customers to try our software before they purchase. It has been pre-loaded with dummy data so it can be used straight away. Information can be saved but will delete every hour on the hour.

If only there was a one size fits all cure for all types of technophobia but alas there isn’t. Everybody is different and each person will have their own ideas about why technology is not for them. The key is to just look at the cause of the problem and work from there.

A couple of points I would like to bring to the table.
Not all developers/designers have the worlds best intentions as their number one goal. Some mainly in the past would create things with style being much more important than function. Clever bits of coding is not always the most logical for the average Joe to use. The type of thing I’m talking about is the black circle on the screen that becomes the menu if you hold your cursor over it for 5 seconds, oh and it only works if your standing on one leg. ‘No the left one!’ Or other types of insane usability, technology should be easy to follow and logical in its design.


Gains in efficiency of internet based systems

There is little doubt the in my mind we need to take advantage of the ever advancing technological age. Every new idea seems to trigger new ideas. Whether that’s in an area we know little about or it’s happening without our knowledge, it happening every second of every day.
We need to trust in our new technology. We can access what was in the filing cabinet from a different city now.

Other real benefits to getting your team on board with technology are your data is stored for ever, if you still store your records on paper devastation/disaster should be a real concern. Fire, theft, earthquake, flood and other natural disasters can just about all be taken care of when you move to an internet based system.


In summary

We need a plan that addresses personal issues, we need to tailor this plan to the individual’s needs. We need to act with patience and due respect. Address the person’s fears, talk to them and put them at ease about technology and the difference between software and hardware.
See what the problem they have is, being silently objective is that the real issue, thinking is that the real problem? Try to get the point across that good development and design needs to consider its users, if a system is not logical it’s not the fault of the user, the problem is with the person who is responsible for its logical flow.

Good modern technology is designed to help, it benefits us all if we use it.