I started volunteering for Royal Voluntary Service this year. They help isolated older people in the community. In the past month I have started befriending a gentleman called Graham. He is 86 years old and lives alone. He no longer has any friends or family left to support him and relies on his social worker and my weekly visit for human contact and help.
He recently got an iPad to help him with loneliness and isolation. Great idea! There’s only one problem. He has absolutely no idea how to use it. I was very pleased to be able to help him on this one, though it’s much trickier than I anticipated.
Graham is pretty nifty on the iPad. He can turn it on, unlock it and has had a dabble at looking at maps. This is much more advanced than I expected but there’s still a very long way to go before he can use it to help with isolation.
He can only handle about 10 minutes of iPad study at a time, and his ‘For Dummies’ iPad for Seniors book absolutely terrifies him (he’s got a point, it’s like War and Peace). So the fabulous UX that Apple claim to have can’t be that great if you need a massive book to do simple things.
I searched the internet for an easier solution. I even tweeted Age UK asking for help, who didn’t respond. There was nothing (that I could find with obvious search queries anyway).
I had a bit of a rant, then I realised I needed to take matters into my own hands.
Below are links to two guides I have created for Graham. They are untested and probably not exhaustive, as thinking like a complete tech novice is actually pretty hard.
If you know someone who could use these guides, I would love you to pass them on and let me know if they found them useful or not. I reckon they will get tweaked a lot as I put them into practice, so feedback is very welcome.
The guides are printable PDFs so you can have them to hand while trying to use the iPad. I’ve written them in 16pt font which I hope is large enough print for those with poorer sight.
If you have suggestions for further guides get in touch.