I noticed a disturbing trend recently among many users. This includes my coworkers, students and family. See if you noticed it too. I can for example tell someone to go to some website – let’s say I want to point someone to this very blog. I would simply tell them to go to terminally-incoherent.com. This is the process these users go through to get to my site:
- Open IE which by default opens up the MSN website with all the flashing flash animations
- They click in the address bar and type in http://www.google.com (yes, they actually type in http and www parts)
- They type in http://www.terminally-incoherent.com in the search box
- They click the search button with their mouse
- Finally they inspect the search results and click on the link to my page
I swear – this happens so often that I no longer get surprised to see it. I can understand the excessive clicks and the silly insistence on typing http and www in front of every address. What I really do not get is why people insist on using Google as the intermediate step when trying to navigate to some address?
In fact we had a guy call up our help desk recently because he could not access one of the company’s new websites. I think he spent half an hour on the phone doing various troubleshooting steps before someone realized that he was actually using the process outlined above. Naturally the website, being an internal service used only by the employees is not and does not need to be indexed by Google. When he was instructed to type in the URL he was very confused and it took him 3 or 4 follow up questions to actually locate this “mysterious address bar”.
The things users do these days baffle me sometimes. I really do not understand their logic. It’s almost as if there was this huge gap between us and the lusers. And instead of closing up, this gap seems to be widening as new generations grow up with technology learning to use it without ever even trying to understand it.
It’s funny, back in the day used to wonder how the future will look. It seemed really bright and positive back then. We figured that kids will be growing up with technology, and using computers on every day basis. We figured that they will play and tinker just the way we did, and every generation will be more computer literate. We were wrong.
The level of computer literacy did not increase. The kids learn to use computers very early, but they do not learn how to understand them. The myspace generation has no fucking clue about technology – all they know is how to awkwardly browse the web and IM eachother all day. Nothing else.
It almost seems like some of us are predisposed for this stuff. We are naturally drawn towards technology and we love figuring out how things work, and how to do things better and faster using the available tools. Others are destined to remain clueless forever despite the fact they have every single opportunity to learn and experiment. Having easy access to technology does not always imply any level of familiarity with it.
[tags]address bar, google, browsing, internet, clueless[/tags]