An Bad Case of Over Design - Designing for ElderlyBy Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Saturday, January 7, 2006
So your Mom recently handed you the task of replacing your “grandmother’s ancient Macintosh with something she could use to connect to the Internet just to send email”.
Background: Your grandma is 89 years old, has a touch of Alzheimer’s, and for the last decade or so, she has been running Macintosh System 7.5 on an old LC II. To your knowledge, she had only ever used it to type and print some letters using Claris Works. She has never sent an email, she has never typed an instant message, she has never even been online in her entire life.
Your task is to keep the budget under 700$ (USD) have all the features your Grandma needs, and most importantly, is easier for her to use than Macintosh System 7.5.
With that specification in mind how would you design the ideal system for her?
I came across an interesting article which shows exactly how you wouldn’t design such a system. This real task was handed over to Bleek, a Linux enthusiast (fanatic may be more appropriate).
With his article I would like to demonstrate acute symptoms of over-designities.
He outlines one by the one almost every example of over-design you will find in book. At the end I propose my solution to the problem.
For the hardware he choose “a dual Athlon XP 1800+ with three 40 gig 7200RPM hard drives, 1 gig of RAM, and for video I gave her a dual-head ATI Radeon 8500 with 128MB”.
Now read the specs above again. He justifies it by - “That ought to give her enough speed to last a couple years at least.”
“I also popped in an old DVD ROM drive I wasn’t using, and a CD-RW drive that I snarfed out of an old rig at work that they were throwing away.”
I can sure see his Grandma downloading music illegally from internet (more on it later) and burning CD’s.
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