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Watch a Smartphone Make an Old Person Very Sad

It's okay, Mr. Ferguson! The UI is just abysmal!
Confuzzled, not that we blame him. (Photo: screencap)

Confuzzled, not that we blame him. (Photo: screencap)

Even the most devoted of gadget geeks faces a learning curve upon buying a new smartphone. Among those who grew up with rotary phones, however, the curve looks a little more like a sheer rock face. The BBC recently witnessed this firsthand, on a visit to a Cambridge lab that does user testing with the elderly to figure out how to make a friendlier product.

“I was amazed how thick I am, really,” 75-year-old, bowtie-wearing Archie Ferguson told the BBC after fiddling and fiddling with one of these unfamiliar devices, attempting to answer a call. “If you can’t do it, you feel a right wally,” he added.

Of course, upsetting nice Mr. Ferguson isn’t the point of the exercise. “We’re trying to forget what we know and see that product afresh for the first time,” explained Ian Hosking, who runs the project. Still, it’s impossible not to feel a little sad on the older man’s behalf, watching his befuddlement:

Of course, a toddler can probably pwn any one of us on an iPad, too.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com