Devices, operating systems and web browsers apparently favoured by the over-70s

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Xenophon PCDGS, 29 Nov 2019.

  1. Xenophon PCDGS

    Xenophon PCDGS Veteran Member

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    As part of certain tasks that I now carry out to assist the caring community (being now a carer myself for my 78 year old wife), I note what internet combinations are used by this age range, as certain internet-related items seem to be reaching the end of their support periods. One matter semi-related to this is that most of the more elderly of that age range do not like Windows 10 or any product requiring the screen to be touched. Out of 22 people noted so far with just laptops, 19 use Windows 7 Home Premium with Internet Explorer 11. Have any other website members with elderly relatives or friends come across such a permutation?

    As a rider to this thread, could website members give me their views on Microsoft Edge, which I understand has currently a beta version.
     
    Last edited: 11 Dec 2019
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  3. pdq

    pdq Member

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    When I got my mother online a few years ago, I went for a Samsung tablet 10". She loves it, and I don't think a laptop would have had the same easy usability. I think being touchscreen-only made it simpler.
     
  4. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    iOS is probably the most intuitive for a non-IT person.
     
  5. cb a1

    cb a1 Member

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    My 82 year old mum has a tablet. She mainly uses it for keeping in touch with family members on Facebook.

    I think the biggest challenge is change rather than keyboard or touchscreen etc. My Dad had the computer; mum didn't use it when he was alive and certainly not after he died so she wasn't having to learn to change behaviour when my sister got her the tablet.

    I remember the first time I was given a Wii controller and I'm standing there asking which button to press to make the tennis racket swing... Once I (very quickly) got the hang of it, I went and bought myself a Wii.
     
  6. DerekC

    DerekC Member

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    I am in the "over 70" category and my wife will be very shortly. I use Windows 10 with a non-touch-screen Dell laptop. You can configure Windows 10 so that it looks and behaves very much like 7 - you don't have to have the touch-screen buttons in the middle of your home screen! There are some differences but they weren't hard to get used to.

    Edge is fine, too - it has been fully released for ages and is over its teething problems, I think. There are a few things you can't do with it, most notably save a web page onto your hard drive, but it is perfectly OK for browsing and using this forum, for example. I did have a problem on conversion to Windows 10, which was that the new version of Internet Explorer that came with it appeared to be incompatible with my bank's security software (IBM Trusteer) - they seemed to get themselves in a loop, with the result that IE ran unusably slowly. Also Edge didn't support Trusteer properly to start with, although they didn't fall over each other. To cut a long story short, I use Edge for non-security-critical stuff and Firefox for banking and paying for stuff online - as recommended by one of my sons in law who works in IT.

    My wife uses an Apple iPad for absolutely everything, loves the touch screen and doesn't much like using the fairly elderly iBook she also has, which spends most of its life in its bag.
     
  7. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    It doesn't make sense to refer to "internet combinations"; a device is used to access applications via the internet.

    One such service is web browsing, for which you use a web browser, such as the examples you cite.

    An operating system sits between the software (such as a web browser) and the device hardware.

    There is no requirement to touch the screen to use the Windows 10 operating system.

    I use Edge, Chrome and FireFox web browsers, and of these I would recommend FireFox, which is the best major browser for privacy and security reasons.
     
  8. Xenophon PCDGS

    Xenophon PCDGS Veteran Member

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    Thanks to all, especially those who know far more about computers than I ever will, who have responded so far.

    I was "volunteered" to act in this capacity after being given two mince pies and a cup of tea with a "little bit of something to warm the cockles of your heart" added from a hip flask at the last carer's meeting.
     
  9. Old Yard Dog

    Old Yard Dog Member

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    As a 68 year old, I prefer iOS to Android having switched phones a year or so ago. And Microsoft have just forced me to move from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 and I haven't noticed any huge advantages. But I haven't quite got used to it yet. I'm still using Office 2007 as I don't see any great need to fork out money for the new version, the only downside being that search no longer works in Outlook.

    The one thing I steadfastly refuse to use is anything depending on voice recognition. It took me 30 mins to pay to use a car park in Maldon in May as you had to give details verbally to some wretched "Ringo" machine which didn't understand my Yorkshire accent. Eventually I gave up and got the missus, a southerner, to do it!
     
  10. eMeS

    eMeS Member

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    I had the same problem with the voice recognition at the Trumpington Park & Ride near Cambridge. The system took my money, and I then had a text message "receipt" which had one letter wrong in my car's registration. When I sent a correction to the sending number, my text message was bounced. I'm not going there again. (I've no idea what my accent now is - diluted Mancunian?)
     
  11. Springs Branch

    Springs Branch Member

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    Although my wife is not yet in the target demographic, she has little aptitude for modern technology, and you could say, technologically, that she's old before her time. She often has problems and gets anxious using the internet, smartphone apps, or even setting up the TV HDD recorder to record her Midsomer Murders and property programmes*.

    Two observations from our household regarding the OP's original questions:-

    1) My wife has become more comfortable, and has fewer "it keeps flashing at me!" moments since she migrated from a Samsung Android phone to an iPhone plus iPad. The Apple user interface seems more intuitive (already mentioned by @Bletchleyite and @Old Yard Dog), devices "just work" without needing to spend a signiifcant amount of time customising for your own needs, and the look & feel stays consistent between devices and upgrades.

    2) Much of the stress for those less relaxed around technology seems to be caused by constant upgrades and changes forced on us by the technology industries. No sooner have you become familiar with one system, user interface etc. than you're pushed to migrate to the latest and greatest upgrade.

    Obviously constant changes, upgrades and churn is necessary for Big Tech and their hangers-on to keep raking in the billions, but I've found many applications passed "peak utility" a good few versions ago, and subsequent changes have been one step forward, two steps back.

    In separate threads on Rail Forums, there are regular discussions of TVMs at railway stations, new designs of machine hardware and "upgrades" to the user interfaces (which invariably have significant problems). I'm sure some of the issues and stresses older and technically-challenged people will have with TVMs will be that just when they've got used to the way to select and buy their day return to town, the TOC (or their non-ticket-buying contractors in India) will come along and instal an "upgrade", with a totally different UI and ever more elaborate navigation to find the right ticket with the Senior Railcard discount. Not a problem you come across buying from the nice person in the ticket office, or the conductor on the train.


    Regarding Microsoft Edge, I've been using this more and more as websites where I have accounts stop working properly with Internet Explorer. I've found Edge very stable and totally OK so far.

    * - of course, I could set up recordng of the programmes for her, but as I dislike this genre of TV so much, I avoid doing this until the nagging gets turned up a notch or two.
     
    Last edited: 30 Nov 2019
  12. Tracked

    Tracked Member

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    My early-70's Mum uses Chrome on Android, she generally has few problems with it (apart from opening loads and loads of windows occasionally!). She'd used one of those Doro smartphones before, a simplified version of a smartphone to the point where things I'd work out intuitively on Android seemed to be an absolute chore to just find on the Doro - think I might've suggested she get something running on Android, as she'd probably still struggle as much but I'd be able to sort it!
     
  13. dosxuk

    dosxuk Member

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    The beta version of Edge is a rebranded version of Chrome with the Google tracking removed (and probably ending up replaced by Microsoft tracking instead). It's an entirely different beast to internet explorer and previous released versions of Edge.
     
  14. Lucan

    Lucan Member

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    It's not your Yorkshire accent. I have an almost neutral accent, and I still can't get the things to understand me. It is particularly infuriating that BT, and also Post Office Phones, use voice recognition when you ring their help lines - when one of the reasons for ringing them is to report a poor crackly line. So the robot can't understand you. I've ended up shouting and screaming at what sounds like a female version of Stephen Hawking (Stephanie Hawking?) until I've had to give up and drive 5 miles to a place where I can get mobile reception.
     
  15. Lucan

    Lucan Member

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    If I were setting up a PC for someone who was a bit flaky about internet use, I'd give them Firefox running on Linux. Then if they fell for viruses or any scams involving malware, that stuff would just bounce off as it is practically all written for Windows.

    As for touch screens, it beats me why anyone would want to wave their hands and arms around if they are using a laptop or dektop, when they could rest their arm on the table or the device and just move their finger or wrist slightly with a mouse. [Disclaimer - I use a trackball so only need to move my thumb slightly.]
     
  16. dgl

    dgl Member

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    Trust me once you start using a touch screen on a computer is becomes second nature and you won't want to go back, especially if you use a laptop on your lap. I've had a ASUS TP300LA 13" and now have a dell Inspiron 13 5000 2-in-1 and love them.
     
  17. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Well Microsoft certainly can't be blamed for that on Windows 10 itself. The operating system was raised to Windows 10 in 2015 and those already using versions 7, 8 and 8.1 were able to upgrade without cost. A choice of interface was and still is offered where the conventional desktop GUI was very similar to Win 7, and a more 'button (or touch if desired) presentation' similar to Win 8 and one of 8.1's modes.
    On the question of security and regular updates, the auto biannual update by default is largely done in the background and it's main intention is to address malfuctions and security issues that arise from the almost infinite number of combinations of applications that users might run in the system, together with the ever increasing attempts to attack the system for theft and fraud purposes. It should be noted that much of the operating systems' vulnerability (not just Windows) arises from the reluctance of users to take basic precautions that are built-in, yet simultaneously expecting the system to defeat those who use the relaxed behaviour of users as a means of attacking PCs.
     
  18. Lucan

    Lucan Member

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    I have a tablet (and certain other devices) with a touch screen and hate the idea, although if you are standing in a street for example it is a help. I can't see any purpose in one if you are at a table or desk. I sometime use my laptop in an armchair but even then I have a trackball on the arm of the chair - you can do that with a trackball (but not with a mouse I guess).
     
  19. Lucan

    Lucan Member

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    Yes, in the background like this do you mean? :

     
  20. DaleCooper

    DaleCooper Established Member

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    I have a real problem with touch screens, they don't seem to respond to my fingers.

    That's why I switched to Ubuntu and have never regretted it.
     
  21. mmh

    mmh Established Member

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    Completely agree. I turn off automatic updates for them when my parents get new (Android) phones. Sudden changes in behaviour and UI irritate me, they find it downright confusing. Sadly the software world is obsessed with continual change.
     
  22. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Clearly an incompetent IT support outfit at that broadcaster. Anybody using a PC with any operating system OS messages on screen set to appear automatically being used for a broadcasting purpose needs training to say the least.
     
  23. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    OS's have to accommodate the changing environment that they are used in, including applications and threats. As long as somebody does a forced update manually occasionally, otherwise, the user could get shut out of things or worse.
     
    Last edited: 2 Dec 2019
  24. Old Yard Dog

    Old Yard Dog Member

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    Touch screens on mobiles can be fiddly to use if your fingers are bigger than the buttons. Even the touch screen on the TVM at my local station is a pain. You have to push hard and slightly high and to the left to get it to register strokes - if you can even see the screen in the sun.
     
  25. Terry Tait

    Terry Tait Member

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    My mum has a Doro 8030 and I find it harder to use and more awkward than my Samsung Galaxy Note 10.
    Doro phones are supposed to be pensioner friendly.
     
  26. Baxenden Bank

    Baxenden Bank Established Member

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    I'm outside the age range but my advice would be to keep users reasonably up to date with software and operating systems. Whilst you can keep using software for a long time, even after it has ceased being supported, the longer you leave it to catch up, the bigger the shock to the system when you ultimately do so.

    I went from Windows 7 to Windows 10 - non touch screen on a laptop - which was different but manageable. At the same time I went from Office XP (circa 2001?) to Office 2019. That was hard and resulted in many expletives being issued when it 'just did something' (it still does). I was quite happy with my old version and would have continued to use it, except I could no longer open new style excel files and left it too late to load the updates.

    Web browser - I use Firefox and have had no issues with it once I got the hang of it. The use of Firefox was determined by my on-line banking no longer working on Explorer.
     
  27. MAV39

    MAV39 Member

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    Just to add to the list as a recent recruit to the target population,

    I run Win10 (but set up to look like Win 7) on a Dell non-touch screen laptop. I find Win10 to be very stable, with no BSODs in the past 3 or so years, and the updating process is now quite automated and almost invisible. Besides Windows security, I run Bitdefender (free) anti virus.

    For browsing, its Firefox with AdBlock and NoScript addons, and am finding Office 2007 still meets my, now limited, needs.


    The boss, although a Win XP and 7 user whilst working, now uses a Samsung 10inch tablet and is very content with its touchscreen for her messaging, email, photos and online shopping needs. (She does have smallish fingers though.)

    BSOD = Blue Screen of Death.

    Guess I should mention I have been in IT since 1970 and a PC user since the early 80s with MS-DOS to start with.
     
    Last edited: 2 Dec 2019
  28. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

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    That seems a tad cynical. From experience both working in the tech industry and using quite a few applications developed by other companies, most upgrades happen for exactly the same reason that upgrades happen in other industries: Because people figure out better ways of doing something. Over the last 10 years, pretty much all the software products I regularly use have been upgraded many times, and usually the result is that they become easier to use (once I've got over the learning curve) or gain new features that I find useful. Occasionally an upgrade turns out to be so badly designed that it makes things worse (Windows 8, anyone?) and sometimes upgrades seem to contain nothing that is of direct benefit to me (Recent versions of Word and Excel come to mind), but usually I see improvements. And of course, as others have mentioned, sometimes the improvements come in the form of better security, which as an end user you tend not to notice, even though you do benefit from it).

    I think the problem is when upgrades come attached to changes in how certain tasks are done without sufficient thought for what users might be already used to. To my mind, a notorious one for that is what used to be the Windows Control Panel - where it seemed to me that almost every new version of Windows seemed to unnecessarily change where you found certain settings. I'm sure the developers and designers who made those decisions thought they had good reasons in each case, but I usually couldn't see what those reasons might be. Personally, I think there are companies who need to be more sensitive to not adjusting their UIs unnecessarily when they do upgrades, but I think I'd regard upgrades in general more favourably than you appear to - to judge from your quoted comment.
     
  29. Lucan

    Lucan Member

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    There is a lot of truth in what Springs Branch said. Consider the late 1990's - early 2000's. Microsoft were releasing a new OS every couple of years and people queued up to buy a boxed copy - they camped outside the shops overnight to get there first. Or they decided it was time to replace the entire PC with a faster one with the new OS pre-installed. That was Microsoft's heyday, and there were real improvements (Win3.1 -> Win95 and WinME-> WinXP were quantum changes). However, there has not been a radical change ever since (MS's effort to standardise the interface between PC and hand-held with Win8 backfired). I usually use Linux but am familiar with Windows, and I dont find any significant difference in usage between WinXP and the current Windows. In fact the software writers have largely run out of ideas for new features. The problem for software writers is that the stuff never wears out*. Moreover, PC hardware has been good enough to run the software most people need for many years now (I'm on one now that's 10 years old).

    So people would never queue for a new version of Windows any more, and PC sales are falling. Microsoft failed to get into the phone market so what are they to do? Their answer is services like cloud hosting, corporate support and above all software rental. Rental is their accountant's dream because unlike the Win95/98/ME/XP ups and downs, it gives a steady predictable income, and Microsoft do not actually need to do much to rake the money in. They still need to do the security patches, but otherwise they only have to do some styling changes from time to time otherwise users might think they are getting nothing for their rental money. I believe that WIndows 10 users will be pushed into renting or be left behind with updates, following the path of Office 365 and of other software makers like Adobe. By then, most users will have forgotten the concept of actually owning software themselves.

    As for making things easier use, that translates as dumbing down. I never found Windows XP hard to use unless I needed to delve into low level settings, which most users never do anyway, and that hasn't got easier anyway.

    * Software never wears out, but some writers are not above putting time-bombs in it, or unplanned ones going off.
    https://games.slashdot.org/story/19...dated-drm-claims-another-vicim-tron-evolution
     
  30. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    That may be a way ahead but there is a body of thought that eventually, Microsoft will see windows as a platform on which they can sell other products, (office applications) and cloud services, and it will be available without cost. That would be a logical step because there is another free GUI OS that can do anything that Windows can and crucially, be as user friendly with minimal additional work, i.e a version of Linux. The OS's current geeky interface prevents this happening, but it wouldn't take much to add a layer of code to bring it up to something that most would see as user-friendly, especially if a developer was encouraged by Microsoft suggesting that they might move Windows to a subscription model. Just as Android and iOS are derivatives of Linux, their user interfaces are designed for non-expert use, so could a desktop OS follow a similar path.
     
  31. DaleCooper

    DaleCooper Established Member

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    I use Ubuntu and wouldn't call the interface geeky except for more esoteric tasks which 99% of users (including me) will never need to worry about. For someone who wants to browse, do a bit of word processing and spreadsheets it's as easy, if not easier, than Windows and a lot less intrusive.
     

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