As many of you know, I live in the city limits of Detroit. I experience the reality of income gaps, education gaps, and services gaps daily. One thing that has been on my mind a lot lately is the technology gap.
The five kids that live below me acquired two new things this year.
- Television with cable.
- A smart phone to share.
For the first time in their lives, these kids (14, 12, 11, 9, and 8) are playing with technology at home. The one thing they do not work with is computers. At times I feel selfish for not sharing my wifi password. I could buy them a cheap laptop to learn on.
The reality is that kids growing up in low-income areas do not gain the technological experience they need to thrive in simple office jobs.
There seems to be this misconception out there that because they play with iPhones they know how tech works. If I gave Blake a computer today and asked him to write a simple document on Word/Pages with a header and italicized text he would give up because he wouldn’t know where to begin.
From a UX standpoint this leaves me questioning how we combat such a large spectrum of users. What are we doing to help raise users from elementary level tasks to masters of programs? I had teachers to help me find things like tables in Word. Not every child has that luxury.
We do a great job at teaching the basics of programs, but sometimes we neglect the challenge of teaching the hard stuff because we expect them to be able to “figure it out.”