3 Rules For Purchasing New Technology

When it comes to purchasing a new device, computer or even paying for web services, most people feel a sense of apprehension. We ask ourselves: Is this the best thing in its category? Will it be obsolete next month? Will it be cheaper? Will I understand how to use it? All these are valid questions, but the bottom line remains the same: Is this product right for you?

There are lots of small details surrounding any product that may trip you up or become confusing. Many times (not all) the sales associate at Best Buy or Radio Shack have the same questions you do! With the rapid pace of technology innovation it would require constant training to stay up to date.

So how do you make the right decision when you're standing in front of a wall of phones at Verizon or AT&T? A great start is to follow these three simple rules:

The device or service:

1. Needs to be Intuitive

If you can't figure out how to adequately use that smartphone or tablet in the store, it's not intuitive. While I'm well known for my Apple preference, the iPhone and iPad are just flat intuitive. Even someone who has never seen an Apple product can figure out they need to push the ONE button on the front of the device, and follow the written instruction: Slide to Unlock.

For comparison, I played with a Blackberry Playbook (their almost obsolete tablet) at a Best Buy. It took me five minutes to figure out how to return to the home screen. There are no buttons on the device and going back to the home screen required an awkward gesture that is far from obvious. Not intuitive.

2. Must Accomplish the Required Tasks

When you go to purchase a device, there should be certain things you expect it to do. If you're going to buy a tablet computer, it needs to be able to retrieve your email. Note/Example: The Blackberry Playbook Tablet did not come with a built-in email client. If you're signing up for an email marketing solution, that service should allow you to send mass emails quickly and with excellence.

Be stubborn when it comes to finding a product that meets your needs. A hasty technology purchase that doesn't perform the task you need will leave you feeling cheated at best or foolish at worst. And don't be afraid to return a product or cancel a subscription if the device or software doesn't perform well. There's a better option out there that can meet your needs, it just may take some time to find it.

3. Should be Fun to Use

Yesterday I held a training session for new task management software we're implementing at The Crossing Church. As you may know, training sessions and/or meetings can be fairly mundane and unentertaining, but this meeting was different. As we went through the application and asked questions, there was a lot of laughter.

Was task management software funny? No. But it was clear that the new system would be so easy to use and on some level, "fun" to implement, we had a lively training session that was actually enjoyable. And you should enjoy using that device or service too.

If you dread logging into that web app every day and hate unlocking your smartphone because it's a pain to use, it's time to find some alternative technologies. To be repetitious, use an iPad for ten minutes and tell me if you have that much fun with any other tablet on the market.