We, the technical people, most often have a very distorted perspective of the real world. We often expect people to know much more than they should, and when they don’t, we often make fun of them. On one hand, there is a logical seed to such behaviour, because if someone is using a tool, it can be expected that he knows something about a tool. For example, when you drive a car, people usually expect you to know that the car has engine and a gearbox, that it needs petrol and oil, that wheels must be inflated, that you push accelerator pedal to go faster and break pedal to go slower, and so on and so forth. On the other hand, there is so much one needs to know these days that it’s hard to say what is an acceptable level. After all, that’s what we have professionals for. And I doubt that, say, lawyers or medical doctors make fun of people not knowing much about law or medicine.
Back to the technical people and our distorted perception. It’s good to “synchronize” with the world once in a while. It’s good to see what is it actually “normal” people know and what they don’t. This helps in understanding those “normal” people better.
For example, there are hot discussions all over the Web about which browser is the best and how to promote them and how to make more people switch to the best browser. But rarely we think about “normal” people and ask ourselves – “do they even know what a browser is?”. Gladly, though, some people do. Here is a street survey video.
Just think about it!
“Less than 8% of people who interviewed on this day knew what a browser was.“
What can we do? We can stop arguing right there and start with telling those “normal” people what a browser is. Once they know, we can go further by telling them which ones are available, how they are different, and help them install and get full advantage of the one they like the most.