Teaching Android Step by Step to the Technologically Illiterate – Part 1

I put this together as a model for myself to follow when teaching about Android to a technologically illiterate user. This guide applies to teaching people who are not very good at using computing devices.

This was written for application with Android 2.x devices without send/end call buttons and uses a touch interface for calls.

Part 1 of a series…

Before you start

It is important to avoid teaching too much. I would recommend that you try to  avoid teaching long-press actions and use of the menu button. 

To those who have been using Android for years, this might be difficult to understand. But there are not many Android users who fail understand the use of long-press and menu options.

Menu button and long-press actions are conceptually similar to the right-click button action on a PC. PC users can move to Android by this concept, but this can be difficult for those who don’t use understand this very well.

Google has realized this and has made significant changes in Android 4.0’s interface to make Android easier to use by removing the menu button and dismissing long-press actions altogether.

Part A) Power button

The power button turns on or off the screen.

If the device is off, press it to turn the device on.

Teaching device power off is not necessary. Android devices never actually get powered off anyway.

Part B) Volume up/down buttons

Controls your ringer volume, or music volume. More loud, less loud…

Part C) A button to go home

This button puts everything out of the way, and bringing you back home to your desktop (Android term of this is ‘Launcher workspace’). It is equivalent of clearing off all the papers off your desk.

If the person has used a PC before, you can try teaching that this buton works like the  ‘Show Desktop’ button on Windows.

If the user has used an iPhone before, teaching the use of this button should be simple enough.

Part D) A button to go back (in time)

The back button works like a browser’s back button, going back to the previous page or task.

If the person has never used the back button in an internet browser before, pressing the back button is like travelling back in time, where one action is reverted for every press of the button.

Part X1) Camera button (if present)

Goes to the camera when the device is ‘active’ (as in not in the lockscreen).

Once the camera app is open, the button takes pictures.

Part X2) Trackball/trackpad (if present)

Moves up, down, left right. You may also select the highlighted item with


Part 2 to come later…