Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Alex computing for technophobes

Marion Colman was a technophobe, sent into panic by the mere sight of a computer. She felt miserable, pathetic and embarrassed.

That was until alex changed her life. alex is a computer designed for the over 50’s and for the computer illiterate.
Marion says
"I’m 63, divorced and working full time. Ten years ago I was traumatised when my employer computerised my entire department in a very short space of time and offered me - by then into my fifties - two days of "crash" training on Windows. Yes, everything from Word to Excel in just two days. My previous work experience ranged from Girl Friday in a stately home, PR positions and roles in TV and the music business. All this was in the pre – IT era so, my experience of computers at this point in my life was virtually nil.

Two weeks later, unable to cope and out of my depth, I resigned. I simply couldn't cope with the new technology and felt desperate. I fell back on my people skills and landed a wonderful job in the retirement sector. And, though the role was office-based, there wasn’t a computer in sight. What a relief!

Put simply, I was a technophobe, sent into panic by the mere sight of a computer. I felt miserable, pathetic and embarrassed. My two sons were frustrated that they couldn't email me, particularly when my grandchildren came along and photos had to be posted. Needless to say, I received very few.

When I read about alex I was curious and hopeful straight away. A computer for someone like me? That’s a dream come true! Admittedly, I was sceptical and apprehensive when the package arrived (I was even incapable of reading instructions of anything remotely techy), however, getting alex up and running and ordering broadband was simple.

Today, I email, surf the web and download photos of my beloved grandchildren. I can access and listen to every music genre imaginable on the amazing YouTube, which is invaluable late at night when sleep evades me. I have a Facebook page and have started dabbling in online dating and genealogy. But, the high point so far was being able to watch my elder son's wedding ceremony in the USA. Being a nervous flyer, there was no way I could attend the event but, thanks to alex, I was able to watch in real time from my home via a web-feed. What a joy.

So, I’ve gone from extreme technophobe to keen web surfer and social media user in just a few days. And what made that change possible? An uncomplicated, user-friendly and intuitive new laptop called alex.
alex has been developed by working with focus groups drawn specifically from the ‘digitally excluded’ - people who have fears or apprehensions about using computers or surfing the internet.

Research shows that in particular the fears are:

I will damage the computer

It will crash and I will lose my data
I could become a victim of credit card fraud
I may lose valuable data as a result of a virus
Someone may steal my identity
I’m afraid that the equipment will become obsolete and I won’t know what to do
I won’t know even how to do the basics.

In autumn 2007 the Broadband Computer Company ran a 12-week trial among 138 people in 42 households (a range of people from a variety of ages, background and computing experience). Results included:

9 out of 10 people who tested alex would recommend it to others

more than half of those trialled rated alex 9 or 10/10 for ease of use.


Following the three-month trial, a friends and family trial took place from Summer – Autumn 2009 to further hone the product.

alex computing is now available from just £9.99 per month at http://www.welcometoalex.com/ or by calling 0800 694 6000. The Broadband Computer Company can also provide a broadband internet connection for customers without an existing connection. This connection requires no skill or expertise to start-up.


An online demonstration of alex is viewable at http://www.welcometoalex.com/ or at www.youtube.com/welcometoalex.

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