I fit the demographic criteria for the research Hewlett Packard was conducting on a new app development to interface the smart phone with their printer.
The Human Factors psychologist guided me through several prompts which had me engage with the app to see how easily I navigated it as a first-time user. An hour of my time and my feedback earned me $100. You can sign up here to be selected for other research. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/E2ESignUp
At the end, she asked me to give my overall impression of technology. I told her I am in awe of it. Afterall, I am in my fifth decade and I am astonished by the rapid development of technology. Perhaps, I am most astonished by my ability to adapt to it. As editor of my college newspaper, I used an X-Acto knife, a Compugraphic typesetter and a pica ruler to measure points and leading. The year after I graduated, my alma mater purchased the first Apple computers. Nonetheless, I received on-the-job training to learn all the new technology tools that burst onto the scene.
When I had my first freelance writing business, I sat in my apartment’s sunroom using an IBM which only allowed word processing. No checking distracting Facebook during a deadline. When it came time to print the copy I took the floppy disk and inserted it into the dot matrix printer which clattered line by line to produce my masterpiece.
Now, I can communicate with a printer across town from me through a smart phone and order a document output. I can take pictures of documents and convert them to PDFs or JPGs and e-mail to whomever needs the information. All from a hand-held computer.
The younger-than-me psychologist probed me to be more specific about the ease of use of this app. One of the functions was to crop a photo and she clarified with me if I understood this concept. Oh, yeah, and I am glad I no longer crop old-school style, using marking pencils, rulers, and calculating aspect and ratio. I didn’t tell her any of this as I thought her age might not have allowed a tangible mental reference point to understand what I was explaining. But I am much happier using my finger and thumb to shrink the photo to fit the space it needs.
And, most amazingly, when I am done with this post, I will hit the publish button and, voila, hundreds of people around the world will be able to read about my experience. No one will need to hand deliver a single sheet of paper. Sharing is completed in real time.
“You’ve come a long way, baby!”