App-Easing The Not So ‘Smart’: Smart Phone Technology For An Unlikely Audience
You would think that there are almost no people out there now in the Western World that don’t regularly download apps and even less that don’t have a smartphone. I have the privilege of working with both farmers and technology in Ireland and can assure you that the above statement is far from true. This post is a quick advice guide on how to help introduce smartphone technology into the life of someone who’s not convinced that they can benefit from it.
Myself and my colleagues had this exact situation. We knew that farmers would benefit massively from going ‘smart‘ with their handsets and using apps for two reasons:
- they love mobile phones as they can talk and text on the move
- their work requires huge amounts information regardless of the sector e.g. a tillage farmer needs detailed weather information in order to know when to sow or spray etc.
Traditionally, farmers were not great with desktop technology but the smartphone provided the opportunity for them to get techy with familiar hardware.
Smart Phone technology for an unlikely audience
We learnt a few key lessons about how you introduce smartphone technology into even the most unlikely of audiences and help them to genuinely benefit:
# 1. Make sure it’s not TOO smart
Make sure that your selling points are about the features and what they deliver for the end-user, not about the technology behind it and how they are delivered.
# 2. Social Media and Email
Are the members of the audience regular users of social media? If so, download these apps for them and make them aware that they have been using ‘apps’ all along. Explain that the simplest of programs like Microsoft Word are applications and that this new word ‘app’ is just a term for application. No need to be super techy to understand this one
# 3. Personal: News, sport and most importantly specialist interests
Find out what kind of interests your audience have. e.g. what sports do they like? Which is their favourite team? Now get them to download apps for that team, film or whatever they are into. If they think there’s fun in it for them they will bite. Now just tell them that your app is also just like this, except for a different purpose.
# 4. Productivity: Saving Time and Money
Find out something that they hate doing. Is there an app that helps them to save money or increase their productivity. The goal is simple here, just show them that apps can save time – it’s not just necessarily another time consuming exercise in addition to their core tasks.
# 5. Ease-of-use
When explaining how to use the app, ensure that you explain why it is designed in a certain way. If they buy into a design process, they will naturally feel more comfortable exploring your smartphone app e.g. we based the layout of our app on the control panels found on machinery and in milking parlours.
# 6. Not another device necessarily
Simplify the smartphone itself for them. There is nothing overtly complex about the smartphone. It is just an evolved version of the mobile phone. Sending and receiving emails is no harder than sending a text.
# 7. Durability
A perception we come across all the time is the perception among some of the public that smartphones are just not durable, have terrible battery life and are less reliable.
- If someone refuses to go smart, you can’t get them to use your app. While the perception is not totally unfounded, tell them to go smart and simply charge the phone every night while asleep.
- Also, Motorola has an ultra hardcore waterproof Android smartphone called the ‘Defy’. This is a fantastic option for those that need something more rugged and work outdoors.
# 8. Redundancy of mobile phones
The old feature phone is becoming redundant. It is inevitable that everyone will have to go smart at some stage. If talking to someone who’s finding it hard to let go, tell them they have to make this move at some stage, then introduce your app as an example of the advantages of smart.
# 9. Android vs. iPhone
Don’t talk operating systems to people who don’t talk that language. iPhone vs. Android vs. Windows etc. is intimidating and a shocking amount of people try to sell their app using this jargon to the non-believer.
Can you add to this post? How do you create an incentive to make people ‘smart’? Let me know.
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