As the last few days of holiday shopping is upon us, then the post holiday “finding a deal” shopping in the near future, I wanted to offer a simple piece of advice for everyone to keep in mind. In my book “My Parent Plan” I discuss how parents can use the concepts of professional project planning to plan their family schedule. Those planning concepts can also be used for tech shopping. But they key concept is “defining needs”. In these tough economic times, we should take a step back when buying a gift to define what the needs to the gift recipient are. Holidays are a great time to get a gift that can make an impact in their life by solving a need.
There are many holiday guides available to share gift recommendations. I created the “TechMamas Holiday Tech Shopping Guide on SkinnyScoop with lists of holiday gift guides. But I am also working on shopping notebooks on Springpad. One of my notebooks was items I found on WayFair.com for home organization(I will also be doing notebooks on other websites with my recommendations). So also consider organization products for gifts that solve a need – but are also fun to use. Cool Mom Tech also listed “3 Springpad Notebooks that you’re going to love” . Infact, Cool Mom Tech also listed the very best apps and websites for gift organization for those looking for more ways to organize their gifts and best sites to get online coupon codes. When I asked around for recommendations on teacher gifts, the feedback I received from friends that are also teachers are: handmade gifts are always special, but if someone is going to purchase a teacher gift – gift cards are highly appreciated. Mashable has lots of posts with recommendations on gift cards.
With technology, gift givers should take a step back from all the hype and decide what technology will make a real impact in recipients lives. Then decide which products have the features to fit that need. We are at a time where multiple devices have advanced features to fit technology needs. Don’t just buy the smartphone, computer or tablet that everyone has, take a step back and find one that has the right features for the right price. Then realize that many devices may fit your needs – so the next step is to find one that is well made and that fits easily in the gift recipients life/workflow. Another key thing to remember when shopping for technology is that “cheap” may also mean that the device may not have all the features needed or may not last. At the same time, there are many deals on technology across the web and at stores that everyone should try to take advantage of.
Myself and many of my friends use Microsoft Office products (and have kids that use XBox Live) so a Windows 8 device would enable us to easily adapt the device to what we are already using. On the other hand, I know other friends that already use Google or Apple centric products that would be a good fit for Android or iOS devices. There are even many of us that use devices with different operating systems because some of the features of the device fit with our daily workflow.
Another need to evaluate when buy a tech gift is if the device can be used for multiple purposes. The gift of a Bluetooth speaker has the benefit of connecting to multiple devicees to stream music either at home or on the go. Or how about high quality earphones with noise canceling that are not only great for listening to music or watching movies -but they can also be used to talk on a cellphone. Some eReaders are also tablets that can be used for apps, while some tablets also make good eReaders. But with eReaders it is important to understand the needs of the gift recipient. Do they read outside most of the time and need a device that is light and has a long battery life? If so, an eReader will be a better fit for them then a tablet. But if they don’t have a tablet and read mostly at home – then a tablet with a comfortable screen to read is a better fit. Better yet, if you have a child, family member or friend that can benefit from assistive technology, holidays is a great time to gift them the gift that can help them in their daily lives. For example, the Livescribe Sky Pen has cloud and WiFi integration as well as syncing with Evernote.
How about friends or family that share not so great quality pictures from their phone and have digital cameras but never upload the pictures? If so, consider one of the new cameras that has WiFi so pictures can be uploaded directly from the camera (or use a WiFi flash storage card). Or how the gift of a real video camera to allow that special someone not only to take quality video of their family/friends – but also produce some of their own videos.
What tech are you shopping for this holiday season (or already purchased)? What tech will you be shopping for during the after holiday sales?
Happy Shopping To All!
Disclosure: This post is just my holiday tech shopping recommendations.