Your grandmother regularly listens to oldies music on a collection of cassette tapes using a Sony Walkman (vintage 1989). She appreciates the ability to take her music with her when she goes on walks. You are convinced that a newer music player, such as an iPod touch, would bring her into the current era, even though cassettes are making a comeback among the hip crowd. What features of the music player would you point out to her to help ease her concerns of “perceived usefulness” and “perceived ease of use”?

A technology could be considered superior on all levels of delivery for a user, but unless the user perceives the technology as being useful and easy to use, it quite possibly will not be adopted. The textbook defines perceived usefulness as the metric in which users will believe that the technology will help them perform their job better. (Richardson, Chengyee, & Smith, 2017, p. 389) Perceived ease of use is defined as the amount of effort needed by the user to be able to use or implement the technology into his or her routine. (Richardson, Chengyee, & Smith, 2017, p. 389) In addition to the perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use, there also needs to be a sufficient technological ecosystem that can support the technology. “A technology is seldom a single artifact, or a single technological element. It is an ecosystem.” (Technology, 2016) Let us say that a new fusion power car is invented that is superior in every capacity when compared to a gasoline combustion engine, without an appropriate infrastructure of repair and maintenance shops established, it would practically impossible for the superior technology to supplant older technology from a useful or ease of use perspective. Take for example electronic reading devices, which has its historical invention dating back to the 1970’s. Without Amazon’s business model of readily available content and the internet’s capability of allowing the content to be loaded onto the technology with ease, it did not take off in popularity until the ecosystem appropriately supported its usefulness. (Technology, 2016)

 

So, grandma is still using a cassette player to listen to her favorite music while she goes for her daily walks. The grandson or granddaughter is tasked with the role of convincing grandma that a digital device for music would be something that she should be using. The technological ecosystem is certainly sufficient, as there are many different device options on the market and the internet has many different avenues that make content readily available. Whereas the cassette player is fairly simple to use, plug in a cassette and play, replace batteries as needed; the digital device demands usage of a computer and grandma may have to purchase her music again in order to download in digital form. This could be a stumbling block for grandma as she may not be familiar with computers or particularly savvy with the internet, or may not want to have to purchase the music again. Though the usefulness of the digital device could be outlined as having superior transportability, power capacity for playing music, and storage capacity for holding songs, its perceived ease of use could be an issue for grandma if she is not familiar with modern computers and the internet. Much like businesses who want for their employees to adopt a new technology, the grandchild would need to clearly communicate to grandma what steps she would need to take in order to use the technology and also provide help desk like support for her. The grandchild would need to show her how it is used and help her with any questions she may have while attempting to use it, otherwise grandma likely would not want to be bothered with the device as its demands on the user’s familiarity with computers is infinitely greater than a Walkman.