Top Questions To Ask Mom Before Buying Tech
Mother's Day is just around the corner and tech is top of mind for many moms. In the past I spent countless hours putting together gift guides. But this year I decided to keep the momentum going with my well known use of Twitter microblogging at @TechMama. Starting today and this weekend I will be tweeting out articles about Mothers Day tech. So please follow me @TechMama to find out what gadgets are being recommended for moms. One of my favorite sites for this type of "cool tech for moms" is CoolMomTech. Of course, I could not post without giving my own tips - but they may just be different then most. In fact, my tips will be the top questions to ask mom before buying her tech.
Anyone buying tech for their moms has to step back and think about what tech "infrastructure and requirements" their mom (or wife) has. How does that special mom use technology in her life? Just because an iPad2 is the hottest gadget being discussed for mother's day - does not mean that it is the right gift for mom.
WHAT? Did I actually just say that the iPad2 may not be the right gift for mom? YES... I did...
This is where my years of consulting comes in handy. iPad2 is great for media consumption, mobile computing and apps galore. It is a great gadget! But some moms may not be interested in apps or even using a touch device.
YES.. I also just said that some moms don't want to use a touch device. Even with a wireless keyboard...
FIRST QUESTION: ASK MOM WHAT SHE WANTS!
Mom may have already done the research and can tell you exactly what tech gadget covets. Last minute shoppers can even stop by a tech store as part of the Mother's Day fun and have her test out a few options
If she does not know what type of tech she wants - here are the top questions to ask mom before buying her tech:
1. Ask Mom - What are her tech needs? Does she want to start reading eBooks but does not care about apps? Does she want a mobile computing option? Does she want to upgrade her smartphone, digital camera or video camera? Or does she want a smartphone that has all of those features?
2. Ask Mom - what are her preferred tech input options (i.e. Touch or Type)? No matter how much you think mom just needs to jump on the "touch" bandwagon - she may not want a touch device. Or maybe she will try a touch device with a wireless keyboard - or a hybrid that has a touchscreen and keyboard for input. Does she like using buttons if the gadget has it or does she prefer a full touch experience?
Example: My mom has tried all the top touch devices (that her tech daughter has). In the end, she is not comfortable with touch and just wants devices with keyboards (not touch with wireless keyboards). So what mom wants mom gets!
3. Ask Mom - what is her "tech infrastructure". Does she use gmail and want a device that best works with that infrastructure (like one with an Android Operating System). Does she have a MAC at home and wants her devices to operate easily in that infrastructure (like iPads, iPod Touch or iPhones that use iTunes to store media)? Does she feel comfortable with her Windows 7 home PC and wants other Window 7 devices (like a Windows 7 laptop or tablet and other devices that use the Zune Marketplace)? Hey, if mom is Xbox obsessed she would enjoy a Windows 7 phone so she can take Xbox on the road!
Does she simply want an eReader to read digital books outside in her back yard (so the device needs to be readable in the sun).
Does she want an easy to use navigation system for her car and does not want to upgrade her phone to use as navigation? In that case a GPS device would be a good fit.
Instead of a new TV maybe mom wants a new Desktop with a big screen that she can use as a PC and to watch movies and shows online (using Hulu, Netflix etc). Maybe she needs an HDTV and some type of media controller (or gaming controller that the family can use as well) so that the family entertainment night can be at home. But this is important to check with mom in advance. Families for years have tried the "hey - here is a new big screen TV for Mother's Day" when she really wants a spa day out. No go...
Or is mom on the bleeding edge of technology but has not updated her own home tech? In that case, go with the lastest and greatest bleeding edge tech. Make sure she has the top mobile tech devices and home entertainment tech that has seemless integration between home and on the road. Don't forget some fashionable tech cases or electronic device bags (CoolMomTech has great suggestions for those).
If the family has an iPad maybe it is time to get an iPad2 just for mom's own use - fingerprint free...
I am the queen-in-charge of tech for my house and we could really use a FULL tech makeover! I think our TV still has "tubes" in it which my son reminds me on a daily basis - even though it still works great.
So.... what did I ask for Mother's Day?
Face Tech: I bought myself a fancy electronic face cleansing brush to help exfoliate. And said to my husband "honey - you just bought me a cleansing brush for Mother's Day!".
Exercise Tech: I want our whole family to work out each day no matter how busy they are - so we are looking at some home exercise tech to enable quick workouts when we do have time.
Light Laptop Tech: I am still trying to decide whether to get a fancy new phone or keep my old phone and get a tablet for apps. But I do need one of those new thin and light laptops so no matter what I can do work on the go - without taking my big old heavy home computer with me.
Have a great Mother's Day. My last hint is non-tech: TURN OFF ALL TECHNOLOGY AND HAVE FAMILY TIME TOGETHER.. If it is just for Mother's Day. And don't let mom (gulp) keep her tech on - because family time is priceless.