Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to explain the Obama administration’s latest decision to extend another ObamaCare deadline by saying that people who want to sign-up just “are not educated on how to use the Internet.” In other words, I assume that he means that most American adults do not use the Internet much.
From an Internet usability perspective, Senator Reid’s assumptions (not surprisingly) seem to be a bit naïve. This is clear when we consider the results of a 2013 Internet use study conducted by the Pew Research Center involving 2,252 United States adults.
If we consider those in the most-prized (for ObamaCare) 18-29 age group, 98% use the Internet regularly. In the second most-desired group, those 30 to 49 years of age, 92% use the Internet. Even in the older 50-64 age group, 83% regularly use the Internet.
We easily can conclude that, in general, American adults are a very experienced group of Internet users. Keep in mind that only those adults that are less than age 65 will need to use the Web to sign-up for ObamaCare.
Senator Reid went on to say that, “There are some people who are not like my grandchildren, who can handle everything so easily on the Internet, and these people need a little extra time.” I assume that he means that inexperienced Internet users need a few extra days (maybe weeks) to touch the keys on the keyboard, and to move the mouse to different locations.
He then gave the comments of a 63-year-old woman who said, “I almost got it. Every time I just about got there, it would cut me off.” I assume that he means that the website took full advantage of her inexperience by intentionally turning off each time she got dangerously close to succeeding.
Reid then said, “We have a lot of people just like this, through no fault of the Internet, but because people are not educated on how to use the Internet.” I assume here that he means that there are people who know how to complete a paper form, but because of their lack of Internet education, do not know how to complete an identical online form.