Sunday, July 3, 2011

Helping Others Select the Right PC

Choosing the right PC is a tough decision for anyone, but a beginning computer user may need some extra help from a friend or family member.  If you’re the honored one asked for assistance, here are a few tips to help you help them:

1. Visit the web—and then a store—together.  Work together to take advantage of internet resources to do initial research and price comparisons.  Then, particularly since the buyer is new to the world of computers, go with them to see and test out PCs first-hand before making that purchase.  Remember that even if they’re not spending a huge amount of money, selecting the right computer takes time and patience.  Make sure you help them explore their options fully.

2. Laptop, netbook, desktop, or all-in-one?  Each version offers its own benefits; ask appropriate questions and find out the best option for the buyer.  In many cases, even an older or retired parent will want the mobility of a laptop.  Other options to consider carefully include: screen size, weight, primary use, wireless accessories, and of course—price range.

3. Give it a trial run.  Show the buyer how to use the Internet with each particular option, and demonstrate some special features and software choices.  Remember that future activities may include trip planning, photography, tax preparation, and games.

4. Primary use is key.  Make a list of top activities the buyer will use their new computer for, in order of priority.  This will help you identify the right questions to ask and advanced features to opt for.  Some examples include: photo and video sharing requires sufficient RAM; speedy communication with friends and family requires sufficient processor speed; listening to music or watching TV/DVDs requires read/write capable optical drive and quality speakers; and playing games requires a video card, ports for game controllers, and sufficient RAM and processor speed.

5. Don’t back out now.  Even after purchase, stick with the buyer to offer support during the set-up and getting started process.  This is when the most unanticipated questions arise.  If you’re tackling the setup yourselves, there are online resources to help you customize settings, connect cables, and connect to the Internet.

6. Get started!  Help your friend or family member get going on their primary use or uses by making sure they’re comfortable with and aware of the many options and features involved.  Answer as many questions as you can and show them how to find online resources to answer other questions that may come up when you’re not around.

If you follow the steps above, you can help establish a comfort and rapport between your friend or family member and their new computer system which will prove rewarding for years to come.

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