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Theme 3

New and less confident users of digital technology need continuing support

An innovative new device, or a one-off course, may not be enough for someone to maintain their use of digital technology - whatever their age. Both research, and discussions with those working in field, confirms the experience we may have when enthusiastically showing, for example, a new website or a smartphone to a new user. The first click-through - or touch through - may be engaging but then it can be difficult to remember the sequence of actions needed, or how to get from one application to another.

Even well-structured courses can leave people frustrated if they find that the computer at home does work in the same way, or they dont have a note of what they did. Even if they have a note, it is easy to get lost if you try something different.

The Communications Consumer Panel report Bridging the Gap says Ready access to informal, ongoing, one-to-one support is a key driver in not just promoting take up but also, critically, sustaining it.

  • This driver often represented the tipping point between lapsing and developing online participation. Help at the start of the journey was critical; in getting started with using the computer and setting up a broadband connection. Ongoing help was equally important to sustain effort and interest to overcome some of the more significant barriers to use. People valued one to-one support, particularly from a friend or relative, and this was often very effective in pushing them forward to a point where they could start to develop their online engagement by themselves.

The Digital Inclusion Group of the Age Action Alliance has developed the idea of digital champions working at different levels: the formal role of the professional, employed to provide help; the informal helper who has a passion for digital technology; and the spontaneous helper who may be friend or family, helping out when needed.

There is enormous scope to support those who work with, and help older people - and to explore how digital technology can best support them. These may be proxy users helping older people access the benefits of being online, or carers and front line workers willing to innovate.

Provocations 7, 9, and 10 expand on these issues and offer some ideas - particularly in providing continuing support, and training proxy users and those providing care.

Reference for this theme on Storify - and embedded below\ View the story “T 3 The need for continuing support” on Storify

dtlater/theme_3.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/12 15:20 (external edit)