The government’s Digital Britain Steering Board has created a discussion site for debate about the Digital Britain Interim Report.
There’s also an introductory video:
This concerns the issues about going on-line for those who have no previous IT experience. It can be terribly DAUNTING, especially if they are quite old, say 60 or more.
One ANECDOTE here, concerning one such person — an old friend of mine who now lives in W. Australia. After many years listening to my pleas he has at last taken delivery of a brand new (Dell) laptop pc by mail order. That was two months ago. Since then we have spent many (fruitless) hours on the phone trying to troubleshoot his problems, for example he has not yet succeeded in sending me an email. He does not have any reliable technical support locally, and is getting more and more apprehensive about trying to do anything with the pc because of the problems that seem to arise whenever he switches it on. Incidentally my friend has a lot of technical skills, so in some ways I have been surprised at his difficulties. It seems to me that, generally, IT professionals are not really aware of these difficulties.
I feel that Digital Britain needs to address these problems, and I am attracted to the idea of creating a new kind of home pc package for NOVICES. I have in mind a far less sophisticated device than is currently offered, and made as foolproof as possible but still providing a good introduction to home computing. Maybe it could be achieved by special “novice software” that could be “upgraded” when the customer feels able to make the switch.
Secondly, there needs to be other help with the initiation. This would include a home visit by a trained person to set up the equipment properly for: internet connection; for basic functions such as email sending and receiving; and to hand over instructions on how to get help if needed.
A simplified computer is a nice idea, but if you’re going to have people going round helping the purchasers to use it, that would double the cost.
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