I have been married for nearly 34 years and really feel like my mother and father in-law are true family. Problem is though that they are 91 and 92 years old. OK, a good age and family and I don't really resent going and fixing a broken door lock, a sticking tap, repairing a broken bird table, cleaning a washing machine filter, fixing the outdoor security lights and updating my list of jobs to do next time I go over for them all in one day. They are nice people and have been good to us and our children over the years.
Granddad, as we call him, is very much playing with a full deck of cards and does Sudoku puzzles every week, while Grandma can retreat into her own world for a while but, if bullied, also can play with a full deck. Problem is that while their mental capacity is still there their bodies are starting to let them down. Hearing starts to fail, strength goes down hill, eyesight deteriorates and co-ordination fails too.
So what has this to do with technology? Well tonight I drove 15 miles, pressed 1 button twice and then returned home! And why?
They have recently upgraded their TV to a 38inch digital set because (a) digital is now a must and (b) because at 38inches Granddad can once again see and enjoy his television. These new TV's are all singing all dancing and designed by the younger adults in society taking into consideration what they see as 'workable' and 'convenient'. Problem is we have an ageing population and while 90+ is the top end of that population there will be more of them over the years.
"It says 'no signal' " I was told. I couldn't believe that the transmitter was out so went expecting it to be a usage problem. I wasn't wrong - he had caught a button that had switched the TV to AVC1 and off the aerial. So why couldn't he fix it himself? Well... you call up the menu and it stays for a relatively short time - not enough to move your focus to the handset, search for a button, move your focus back to the screen find where you are supposed to be and start doing it. Not when you are 90+!
This happened before and I tried to talk him through it on the phone and then went to do it for him. I got there and he was reduced to tears that he couldn't do it himself!
It would be so easy to:-
After power off ALWAYS bring the set back to the aerial
Leave the menus on the screen permanently until turned off again
Put more buttons on the handset so the switch to the aerial source is one button to press
All of the above
Instead our elder generation is reduced to losing their dignity because no-one considers them at the design stage.
Thanks LG I love you a lot! But don't expect a Christmas card.