Natives and Immigrants

I picked up these two terms from this post at http://ecmarchitect.com/archives/2007/09/20/767

Digital Natives – the generation of workers who are entering the workplace now
Digital Immigrants – the generation of workers who have adapt to the changing technology

I would consider myself somewhere between the two but with my techie focus, compared to say a lawyer, I’d like to think my interest moves me towards a native. I joined Facebook and get more from the way it has been built and designed than the fact I can keep in touch with people, although I think that will move on slowly.

The two camps above present a real problem for us in the industry. Take a project I am working on now where we are implementing a Portal into organisations which are traditionally very immature in terms of technology. The vast majority of users we have will have had no exposure at all to the likes of Facebook and other mash-ups. In fact some will have had little exposure to the internet.

The strategy we drew up some time ago on the programme was that the Portal platform would become the workplace for these people, the number of users could rise as high as 400,000 and work in many, many different organisations. We would build multiple applications which the users would then access based on role and rights. The applications they access would then be available for them to customise to their own liking, they may not need the full application to do their regular day to day work but could select one or two Portlets for their dashboard.

At the moment the customisation options are not being pushed, we’re keeping them locked away for a rainy day, and for when the user population is more mature in terms of it’s approach to Portals. However it has been very important for us to ensure the design of the Portlets is granular enough to allow for this customisation to work in the future.

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