This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Teaching computer stuff to people over 40

If you have ever tried to show an older person how to use Facebook, or how to use Paypal, or anything like that, you know that it can be a frustration. There are a lot of reasons why people over forty have special challenges, but I have been successfully helping these people for a long time, and it's just a question of understanding their point of view.

• People in their forties, fifties, sixties, and beyond already know a lot of stuff. That's the first thing that you have to consider. Showing them something that is totally new is confusing and embarrassing to them. They are used to doing a lot of things right, and with ease. It's been a long time for many of them since they were awkward and uncomfortable. People don't want to look stupid or weak. They won't say, *doing this makes me feel awkward and uncomfortable*, they will say that they don't have time for it. What they need is time and space. Give it to them and you will preserve their dignity. Don't give up.

• People in their forties, fifties, sixties, and beyond have difficulties seeing small type. It's a fact of life that we all will have to accept after a certain number of decades, like grey hair. Words and images on a computer screen, a cell phone, or a tablet are difficult for older people to see up close. Difficult, but not impossible. Don't make a big deal about reading glasses, but don't try to show something to someone who is not using their reading glasses, the best you will get is a nod and a smile. You wouldn't teach someone to drive who couldn't see the road very well, so don't show older people a blurry little screen! Give them a chance to focus.

• People in their forties, fifties, sixties, and beyond are still human. Like you, if they see a value in something, they will pursue it. If not, they won't. Just because something is a the latest cool technology doesn't mean that everyone sees a value in it. Listen to the reasons that someone expresses an interest in something. If it's for them, you will see a motivated learner. If they are doing it for someone else, you will see a kid waiting for recess!