My wife struggles heaps on computers - even Macs - what do i do?!

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by ChrisH3677, Jul 4, 2004.

  1. ChrisH3677 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Location:
    Victoria, Australia
    #1
    My wife struggles badly with computers. She's pretty much afraid and intimidated by them. She's only 29 too, and has used a PC regularly at home. I thought when I switched her to Macs, life would get easier for her. No such luck.

    Here's a few that spring to mind...

    On right-clicking
    Me: "Ok, the equivalent of right clicking is command-click". Her: "Oh, I never right click. I don't like it. It's confusing." (admittedly this does vindicate Apple's one button mouse)

    On the bookmarks bar in Safari
    Me: "The TV Guide is on bookmark bar". Her "No it's not. It's gone". Me: "Look, here on the bookmarks bar, under the 'Info' drop down". Her: "Oh. I didn't want to click on that. I didn't know what would happen."

    On Expose (which was set to activate in screen corners)
    Her: "My programs keep shrinking or disappearing. Can you turn that off, it confuses me"


    So apart from being extra-ordinarily patient (which i'm not!)... what else can I do?!! I've given her the most user-friendly, least confusing OS.

    PS And I can't help paraphrasing the old joke...

    Wanted: New wife. Must have own Mac. Please send photo. Of Mac. :D
     
  2. JzzTrump22 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    #2
    Either spend a lot of time explaining what everything does on the mac and online or lock her out of the computer. That would definatly take care of the annoying questions and comments. But i don't think locking her out of the computer is logical so i guess your going to be stuck answering questions. Unless you feel like having someone else explain everything to her while you kick back on the couch and watch the game.
     
  3. saabmp3 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    #3
    How about you make a new account for her and lock her out of everything that is un-necessary to her usage. Ontop of that you can tell her that because it's her account (with lots of restrictions) she can click anything she wants and nothing bad can come from it.

    BEN
     
  4. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #4
    I agree - set up a limited account. Don't set up anything to do anything when the mouse is in the corners - it's just confusing to her.

    What sorts of apps does she want to use? You could even set them up to start automatically when she logs in.
     
  5. JzzTrump22 macrumors 65816

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    Apr 13, 2004
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    New York
    #5
    That sounds like the best idea, a limited user.
     
  6. MacFan26 macrumors 65816

    MacFan26

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    Jan 8, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco, California
    #6
    You could also tell her that clicking on buttons isn't going to do anything bad. I mean, how much damage can you do in apps like Safari? Just make sure everything still asks if 'you really want to this' before doing it. Have faith in her! She'll be able to learn :) :)
     
  7. BrianKonarsMac macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    #7
    turn off all the fancy features, she doesn't need them, and they will only confuse her until she is comfortable with the VERY BASICS! wait for her to master right clicking before moving to Expose. sit down with her and help her do things, so she can watch you, she'll pick up the shortcuts, right clicking, Quitting open apps, etc. much faster if she can watch you.
     
  8. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #8
    well a limited user sounds like it would work for you and your wife pretty well.

    My fiancee is pretty intimidated by computers as well. But once i got her to get a powerbook she kinda became unafraid to poke around. She is no where near knowing what everything does ect. but i think the key is your wife's attitude. Is she willing to learn? or is she happy in her ignorance? if she doesn't care to learn, then a limited user account would be great for her. If she wants to learn, but wants help learning about it, i would take a few hours each weekend or whenever you have the time and start slow and teach her stuff about the computer, what does what, basics, stuff that users on here dont think about because its so redundant and simple to us. If you can get her to open up a little and explain that she should work on the computer herself and try and figure eveything out on her own, and that you are a resource to help her learn about the computer i think a user account that is slightly limited would be great. Limited enough that she cant mess anything up, ect.

    The hard part is getting her excited about computers i guess. My gf really isnt all that excited about her computer, to her its a machine. But anytime we stumble accross something new or something that is just cool, she gets excited now too because she actually likes her computer now instead of just viewing it as a machine i think she has opened up and realized that computers can be interesting instead of just something for geeks.

    sorry for saying too much. hopefully you will have some success and let us know how things go
     
  9. 7on macrumors 601

    7on

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2003
    Location:
    Dress Rosa
    #9
    Sounds like you're trying to convince her that your "way" is better. If she had her own account (or own computer) then she probably won't feel so imtemdiated. I myself hate screen corners and if I didn't know anything about it I'd hate Exposé if that was the default too. Many people feel stupid about something when there's someone over their shoulders pointing out stuff. And it probably goes without mention that you've customized the dock and other things. A default clean MacOSX is very simple. When you first boot you have a Dock with all the necessary apps. And then one icon on the desktop... she wonders, what must it do? She'll double-click and see folders Pictures, Documents, Music, etc.

    I almost wished Safari's icon was different as to make Apple's gateway to the internet seem more aware.

    It's less a problem with computers than a person imposing their preferences on someone else. Believe me, I know too fondly that story...
     
  10. MacAficionado macrumors 6502

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    An awesome place
    #10

    My wife is the same. She admittedly (and obviously) does not care to learn. She knows the very basics, but when it comes to something that I think should be basic, she struggles.
    She is GREAT at being a television producer, but when it comes to computers, she is just not interested. In my line of work, I see women from pharmaceutical companies and other industries just tear apart and edit, create a PowerPoint presentation. I just look and think to myself: "I wish my wife was that proficient with them". But reality is she just does not care.
    Maybe that is what's going on with your wife. :cool:
     
  11. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020

    Horrortaxi

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    Jul 6, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #11
    It's not that she has too many options and needs a limited account, she's just afraid of the computer. The only way to get around that is to use it more--preferably for things she will find fun. Give her her own account and assure her she can't kill the computer. When she says something confuses her, turn it off or show her how to turn it off. Let her go at her own pace and just answer her questions--be simple and be short (your answers, not temper). Let her come to you when she needs help and don't rush her. She'll probably start figuring out more things that way.
     
  12. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #12
    Good points.

    Also, put up a desktop background that's comforting to her. Bunnies, puppies, flowers, the ocean, whatever. Odd, but my wife was noticeably happier using the Mac once she found a desktop she liked.
     
  13. Timelessblur macrumors 65816

    Timelessblur

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2004
    #13
    also you may have to do what I do for my mom on our windows computer when she needs help. You can not allow your self to tell her any of the short cut key comands or using short cuts. show her how to do things the long way where it makes since.

    Like above make her her own acount and make it limited so she can not mess anything up. Turn off all of the fancy stuff make it as basic as possible. The one nice thing about windows is it lacks a lot of the eye candy and will add a lot to the confusetion of a new user. I do use macs so I dont know to much about them but helping on my mom on our windows XP the only time I do some of the fancy stuff is when I am in the middle of doing something else and I more than likely never going to have to show her how to take care of it again. That or it just to complicated to explain other wise on how to fix it. (a lot of my answers are this will cover you for now. I will fix it when I get on later).

    I do know that I use very diffent setting. I am sorry but corner hot stuff is more for people who have figure out the other basics. Give her as little as possible to deal with and hopefully she may enjoy digging around and finding out the cool stuff
     
  14. superbovine macrumors 68030

    superbovine

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    Nov 7, 2003
  15. KingSleaze macrumors 6502

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    Feb 24, 2004
    Location:
    So. Cal
    #15
    Did she have problems using the PC?
     
  16. Awimoway macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2002
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    at the edge
    #16
    You must follow up with us and let us know how things are going. Actually, I almost think it would be more interesting — and productive — if you had her come here and talk to us. If your patience is wearing thin, maybe we can do some of the hand-holding for you. We like to help, or we wouldn't have bothered to reply to your post. :)

    I hate hot corners myself, and I think I'm a fairly experienced computer user. One false move and wacky **** happens. :eek:

    Horrortaxi made the most important point. She's afraid. In fact, it would probably not be a stretch to say she's paranoid when she uses a computer. For too often something unexpected has happened to her when she did what she thought was a simple procedure (like pushing a button), so she now tries to get by doing the barest minimum she can get away with. I have known a lot of people like this. Most are not as young as your wife, but that's okay.

    The problem with that attitude is that the only way to learn how to use computers well is with a relentless capacity to experiment, to say "I wonder what happens if I do this?" I mean, how many of us really read the manuals? We just mess around with stuff and see what it does. Your wife is one of those people whose modus operandi is the exact opposite: "I'm afraid to find out what will happen if I do this, so I won't." As a result, her productivity is severely handicapped.

    Unfortunately, a lot of people (I'm thinking of my wife, for example, who's 28 by the way) will claim, as a defense mechanism, that they really don't care about using computers or don't want to learn better ways of doing things. Which is a crock, for the most part. They know computers can do cool things. Heck, my wife uses the computer so much that I had to get my own (which is when I switched to a Mac). But she refuses to admit that there might be more efficient, more stable ways of doing things because learning is sometimes hard. And she hates to experiment because she's been stung enough that she doesn't trust her computer. (Of course, if she had a Mac, she would have far fewer trust issues, but she doesn't believe it, and your wife is a cautionary tale in that regard).

    Ah, you've struck a nerve. I could go on and on. But I won't. Good luck. And get back to us.
     
  17. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #17
    A word of caution: don't believe that all these problems would slip away if only she had a Mac. My wife started on OS9, and getting her to change to OSX (for networking and Printer Sharing) has been a nightmare. She misses the little smiling Mac. And you need to learn a whole new landscape and vocabulary to work in OSX.
     
  18. 5300cs macrumors 68000

    5300cs

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    Nov 24, 2002
    Location:
    japan
    #18
    I agree with the limited account. I setup Expose in the corners too and even I got confused; it drove me up the wall.

    Too bad At Ease doesn't work with OS X ... or does it? :cool:

    Macintosh At Ease ... those were the good ol' days :cool:
     
  19. MacFan26 macrumors 65816

    MacFan26

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    Jan 8, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco, California
    #19
    We had At Ease on the original iMacs at school back in the day. I hated it because people thought that was the only way a Mac could be used. With three buttons to the only programs you could use and no preferences control. It was annoying to half to explain that it was just so people couldn't mess up the computers. :mad:
     
  20. jtown macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2003
    #20
    Backing up quite a bit, why is it necessary for her to use a computer? If she doesn't need to use a computer to make a living, consider letting it go. I know plenty of people who don't like computers and they get by just fine. Sure, it'd be nice if everyone was a geek but some people just have no interest in computers. If they don't need to use computers to make a living, I don't see a need to force them to learn.

    If you just can't let it go, figure out how to tie it into her interests. There has to be something she likes that can be ehnaced by internet access.
     
  21. JohnsonMac macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    #21
    Agreed with the above. Give her an account with only her top used 4 programs in the dock. Make the dock huge.

    Turn off expose, newbie's can't handle it. You can turn it on in a few years.

    Put all bookmarks in the bookmarks bar directly, no subcategories.

    Right click? No need! She'll be fine with one button and single click.

    Wasn't that hard now, was it?
     
  22. winwintoo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2003
    #22
    From experience, I bet it's not the computer that intimidates her, it's you. No that's wrong, it's a power struggle. This is one way that she can manipulate the crap out of you. "I'm so weak, I'm so afraid, you're such a meany making me do all this, make it go away, this is too hard......." It's called passive-aggression. She doesn't even know she's doing it.

    Ok, enough psycho-babble. We had the same problem, but with our elderly mother. I worked for many years as a systems analyst and none of the family ever acknowledged that I was anything but a file clerk. Anyhow, now Mom has a computer, and since I'm the computer geek, by default, I was elected to be the tech support. Well, nothing was any good. I gave her an iMac, it was no good, we bought her a brand new iMac, it was even worse, finally I threw up my hands and refused to go near her computer - now my sister does it all and I tell her what to do and Mom couldn't be happier. She now has a crappy old iMac that I expect will calf any day now, but it's just fine with her.

    The problem was that she didn't want to look stupid in front of me so she did whatever she could to make it look like my fault - The joys of the sandwich generation.

    Take care, M
     
  23. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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  24. Aoide macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 11, 2003
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #24
    I agree about setting up the account with limited features. But I also think that if she has no desire to become more of a power user.... or even just a more efficient user, no amount of begging, cajoling, fiddling will fix it. Like everyone has said I think she needs an account to fit her computing style.

    I am facing the same problem with my mother. I even bought her a beginner book to teach her the basics... just the basics, mind you..... of using Jaguar. She probably hasn't even cracked it once. She uses it to check her mail and surf and for word processing and she has no desire to learn all the little short cuts or the ins or outs of the machine. I realized that I was trying to foist my interests and hobbies onto her. Computers just aren't her interest. So I try to make it as easy as possible, help her with problems and anytime I need her to do something on the computer, I write it down step by step. Not everyone can be a computer geek I guess. Although I am not interested in taking up her birding hobby either!!
     
  25. rendezvouscp macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Location:
    Long Beach, California
    #25
    Wow, all of this sounds like my girlfriend and my mom. My mom got an iMac a few months ago, and she's practically afraid of touching anything she doesn't know about. She loves moose (moose, mice, or mooses, whatever you say), so we sent her background to a moose. When I show her things, I go very very very (did you notice very?) slow, and narrorate (I couldn't figure out the spelling) every move I make. Limited user seems a little harsh, but may be worth it. Her own account is very good. Good luck though. It'll get better.

    BTW, my mom has to use the computer for business, so I'm not putting her through something she doesn't need to do.
    –Chase
     

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