Last week, I got to “fly” an F-16 jet. Simulation. Pretty darned cool. Since we were beginners, the staff only activated three buttons (talk, fire, and brakes), the throttle, and the steering joystick. It was still pretty hard to fly. I “died.” Many times. And I thought: how does anyone fly this thing once all these other buttons are activated?
Later, I explained to my stepfather how to download an image from his Facebook Newsfeed. As I was guiding him to click this button, then that, he wondered: “Geez! How can you remember all this stuff?” I imagine his face had an expression similar to the one I’d had when I’d sat in the F-16’s cockpit.
These two interactions brought to light how foreign and overwhelming ANYTHING can be when someone’s exposed to it for the first time: be it a computer system, a new process, or a fighter jet. Next time I take on the task of teaching someone a new system, I’ll have the image of that F-16 jet cockpit to remind me.