I have, for some time, been absolutely appalled by people spouting ‘digital native’ concepts in meetings when talking about the under twenties. The idea that “they think differently, act differently, are completely native” to the Internet when we oldies are not is often so entrenched that I have been accused (and I quote) of “designing applications for yourself, a white mid-thirties man” and “losing touch with my users”.
Apparently someone who has completely forgotten what it was like to be young is able to tell me that I have lost touch. Pah! I spit on their nonsense and go back to user centred design and thorough user testing against my target demographic and let them wallow in their contrived stupidity.
Anyway. JISC has just published a report (PDF) that rather supports common sense. (Summary from Ars Technica). Nice to have people who actually should be researching and commenting on this sort of thing come out with something we can refer to (and hopefully use to shut these digital native theorists up).
As an aside, I was in a meeting with Matt Locke (ex of BBC Innovation, now at Channel4) when someone started spouting this crap again. His use of Tom Wolfe’s Kandy-kolored Tangerine-flake Streamlined Baby as an example of exactly how one generation feels about the one following it was, I thought, particularly apt. And it reminded of a good book, too.