grandma-rated mail reader
mike.cloaked at gmail.com
Tue Sep 9 16:25:47 UTC 2008
Tim <ignored_mailbox <at> yahoo.com.au> writes:
> I think you can modify Thunderbird's GUI, like Firefox lets you, so you
> could remove a lot of the GUI buttons.
Having run a Linux box for an elderly grandma for some years there are some
important considerations depending on how previously computer literate
the person is or was prior to having the linux box to use.
There should be little opportunity to accidentally click anything at all,
and also the setup needs to include thinking of how leaning on the ctrl key
whilst pressing another key might generate unintended consequences.
It can be quite challenging to diagnose what has happened when the person is
unable to report exactly what he/she had done to get the mail client into
an "unusual" state!
The initial training period can be quite lengthy before reasonable competence
may be achieved.
Changing fonts for the desktop using the accessibility functions can be
important too. Also adjustment of the mouse click/cursor speed could well
be an important consideration.
In my case kmail has been the mail client used - and this has worked
successfully - with remote management of the machine using vnc via an
ssh tunnel to repair things on the desktop when accidental collateral damage
has been initiated.
I did consider Thunderbird (which I use for myself) but one possible
problem with TB is that an entire folder can be deleted more easily in
TB than in kmail. Of course after the initial training has been completed
and a working competence achieved then familiarity means that it is harder
to switch to a different mail client later - which might cause reluctance
and anxiety for the elderly user in moving to a different client.
Whilst not being ageist it is important to recognise the issues involved
for someone new to a computer who may be in their 80's or older.
However it is very rewarding to see an elderly person being able to
keep in touch via email with family and friends at times when using a
phone may prove difficult due to hearing problems.
It is nice that Fedora/Linux has the facilities to allow a computer to be
successfully used for this purpose - the alternative typical OS would
in my case have been a nightmare to manage successfully.
More information about the users