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2.1.4: Different User Types

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    Learning Objectives

    • Identify user types and relate specific user types with appropriate computer types.

    One of the first things you should do when preparing to buy a PC is define your user type. For example, you might describe yourself as

    • a mobile user,

    • a home user,

    • a small-office/home-office user,

    • a power user, or

    • an enterprise user.

    Are you a combination of these user types? If so, which user type has priority for you? Answering these questions will help you to decide whether you need a desktop, notebook, or tablet PC. It will also help you to begin to determine how much power and what capabilities the PC must have to meet your requirements.



    Home user. Sally has a desktop computer at home. She uses it to complete schoolwork for her online classes, keep financial records, send and receive e-mail, and conduct online research. Sam, her husband, is also taking classes but in a face-to-face setting. He prefers to have a computer on which he can take notes during class, so he uses a tablet PC and uploads his notes to Sally's desktop PC at home.

    Small-business/home-business user. Hank runs a small accounting business from his house. In addition to all the same uses for which Sally uses her desktop, Hank requires sophisticated financial software packages to use in his professional practice.

    Mobile user. Hal is a sales representative for a paper company. He frequently travels to visit clients and uses his laptop and a smartphone to stay in touch with the home office. His computer must handle business-related software, and he must have a means of contacting clients and the home office.

    Power user. As the chief financial officer of her company, Bree works on a workstation at her office location. She handles complex financial data, including accounting and forecasting analysis. Her computer is networked with other workstations within the company. Workstation computers generally can handle more complex applications than PCs.

    Enterprise user. Bob works on a mainframe—a large, powerful computer or set of linked computers—at his company’s main headquarters. He communicates regularly with other company employees around the world, all of whom are connected to a central server at the headquarters site.

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    Kim travels a lot for work. What type of computer system would be best for Kim?

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    Your friend Rita tells you she has been working in the call center at XYZ Corporation for five years, using one of the company’s desktop computers to support her tasks, so she has acquired basic computer skills. She recently began taking classes at a local community college and needs to purchase a computer for school use. She also wants to start storing her family pictures that are still stored on her digital camera, and to connect with her friends who have encouraged her to join Facebook.

    Rita has asked you to help her decide what type of computer she should buy. Which of the following do you think is theleastimportant information that you need to know?

    Knowing only what Rita has told you, what category of user do you think Rita belongs to?

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    Which type of system unit would be appropriate for doing schoolwork, personal finances, business applications, and access to the internet and e-mail for a home user or home office user? Select Yes or No for each option.


    Desktop PC


    Marlon works as a design engineer for a small architectural firm. He needs to use a sophisticated computer-aided design (CAD) application for his work. What type of computer system would be best for Marlon?

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    2.1.4: Different User Types is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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