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Systematizing people+technology interactions?

By November 29, 2010People+Technology

I think it’s possible to systematize the strengthening of relationships between people and their technology.

Building a relationship, I think, means putting in effort to learn about the other entity (whether it be a person or Mac system). How can we best relate, while speaking the same language?

If you want to help a person build a better relationship with their technology, it starts with asking really good questions.

Imagine if before any helping/teaching interaction with a computer user, you asked them (and received an honest answer to) questions like these:

  1. What are you building? What is your vision, and what’s the current plan for creating the vision?
  2. How can a technology system help you build that vision faster? Even if it would be something new that might not exist yet.
  3. Where do you feel thwarted in your current system? What little things bother you and slow you down? Even minor things.
  4. When you are thwarted, how do you handle it? What do you do as a workaround?
  5. If someone waved a magic wand and you suddenly had a technician’s skills in one area of your technology life, what area would it be?
  6. Where in your life have you learned quickly through excellent teaching? What factors contributed to making it a success in that experience?

Once you have this data, you can adapt your teaching style and pinpoint the problem (or, opportunity) areas and teach effectively in the language they like best.

You’ll have sure footing in the root issue at hand; knowing the preferences and desires of the person. You can make small changes to the computer system to adapt to the very human needs of the person, while teaching the person in a way that works for them.

The end result needs to be that they have more options for how to handle the work they’re trying to do, and how to handle being thwarted.

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