Five-year-old with an iPad

Give an iPad to a five-year-old boy. Can he figure it out? Tyler Gray of Fast Company started by showing photos to his son, Cash, who’d already figured out how to use an iPhone. He identified the iPad as a “giant iPhone.”

When Gray bought the iPad, he handed it to his son.

He pretty much figured it out in five minutes flat. He instinctively pushed the home button when he got stuck. He knew how to make pictures larger, how to draw on the Etch-a-Sketch app (he preferred it to the actual Etch-a-Sketch we had in the office). And, of course, because he’s a boy, he learned how to shoot the shooting games and steer the racing games.

Check out the video.

Via my brother David, who blogs at Connected World. At 9, his daughter picked up an iPhone and started using it without instruction.

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  1. Interesting, but not really a measure of anything. When I was five, I was the only one in the house who could program our VCR and I wouldn’t consider it user friendly by any modern standard.

  2. Oh, boy. That makes him smart!

  3. Cranberry says:

    Good designers aim to build devices which are intuitive to use. So, the Apple designers did a good job.

    Children gravitate to technology which is easy to use. Witness the growth of the ipod, youtube, and Facebook. They don’t read manuals (just like adults.)

    Now, can we stop wasting class time on teaching students how to use devices whose use will be intuitive by the time they reach the workforce? And can we stop attributing the successful use of idiot proof devices to intelligence or effective education?

    If this kid was able to use a router without instruction, I’d be much more impressed…

  4. Mark Roulo says:

    “If this kid was able to use a router without instruction, I’d be much more impressed…”

    *USING* a router is easy 🙂 I used one in posting this comment. Now, configuring one …

    -Mark Roulo

  5. If all electronics were as well-designed as the iPad, 5 year old could work with all of them.

    I’m constantly amazed at how poorly designed most everyday devices are–my local grocery uses a pay station where you push a green button to cancel your transaction. Green means go.

  6. Speaking as someone who has spent a career trying to design good user interface, I have to say that Apple is just amazing. They have the money (and, oh boy, it takes a boatload of money) to really nail usability.

    Whenever you see a really slick little interaction (such as the little virtual slide you use to unlock your iPhone or iPad), just know that literally THOUSANDS of dollars went into that little gesture: dozens or hundreds of usability tests were done with many different types of users (from novice to expert, young and old, male and female, etc) to find just the right gesture: is it left to right or top to bottom? Is a simple swipe right or should the gesture be more complicated, like a circle? Should the slider be 100 pixels square or 200? Should it make a noise and, if so, what noise is right?

    Apple makes it look easy, but the fact is that it’s really HARD.


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