Getting too old to drag & drop or point & click?

Insulting Audiences over a Half Century

by Conrad Weisert
© 2016 Information Disciplines, Inc., Chicago
April 18, 2016

NOTE: This document may be circulated or quoted from freely, as long as the copyright notice is included.

"If this presentation insults your intelligence, please bear in mind that it was originally intended for management."—IBM representative introducing a promotional film about the new System/360 to an audience of programmers, April 7, 1964


Wow! A Simple to Use Computer Designed Especially for Seniors!—Headline over an advertisement in The Nation, April 25, 2016, p. 9

The full-page promotion goes on:   "With all of the 'pointing and clicking' and 'dragging and dropping' you're lucky if you can figure out where you are..…  It's so easy to use you won't have to ask your children or grandchildren for help.…  Now, thanks to the WOW computer, countless older Americans are discovering the wonderful world of the Internet every day."

The advertisement in The Nation never gets around to telling readers:

I suppose such details are too much for senior minds to comprehend. In case readers are hesitating, however, it assures us that the Intel processor is "lightning fast" and that the screen has "16% more viewing area" (than what?).

How can anyone resist? Just call the toll-free number.

* * * *

Of course, the WOW! advertisement has a point. Today's mainstream operating systems really are harder to learn and harder to use than they should be. In particular it's often hard to recover from errors that leave the system in a disturbed state. But many younger users are complaining, too.

Last updated 19 April 2016

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