Deciding What to Buy
Choosing computers, software or a web designer can be very stressful because the differences among the various options are not always obvious. Following these basic steps can make the process more manageable:
Define the tasks you want your new technology to perform. To avoid spending extra for functions you don’t need, start by making a list of the work you plan to do with your new technology (whether it‘s a computer, software program, or website).
Enlist knowledgeable help. If you aren’t interested in technology, take the time to get help from someone who is. It is faster to seek out someone (a staff member, board member, volunteer, or friend) who already has a basic knowledge than to become an expert yourself. Be wary of using sales people as your source of information – you want to be sure the advice you receive is focused on the needs of your organization, not the desire to sell a particular product.
Convert your functional needs into selection criteria. With the assistance of your tech-savvy helper, translate the tasks you want the new technology to perform into a list of specific requirements. Consulting idealware.org or other websites that compare various technology options may help with this step.
“Test drive” 3-5 products that meet your selection criteria. In most cases, you can get a trial version of software, view other websites created by the companies you are considering, try out a particular computer at the store, etc. This is an important part of the process as you will likely have to live with the choice you make for some time.
Select the best choice based on capacity, functionality and price. Because ease of use is so critical with technology choices, it is important to make your final decision by considering these factors in addition to price.