Designing for Older Adults: Usability Considerations for Real Users

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Presentation given at Stanford University's Design Seminar, January 10, 2014.

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  • Traditional UI Design Principles, after Norman, Nielsen, etc.
    ** click **
    Here are the current ones from for iOS 7 and Android
    Mobile push:  disregarding "classic" UI principles?
  • Designing for Older Adults: Usability Considerations for Real Users

    1. 1. Designing for Older Adults Usability Considerations for Real Users Kate Finn & Jeff Johnson, Wiser Usability, Inc.
    2. 2. Definitions    “Older Adults” (OAs) = people 50+ Usability: How easy it is for something's intended users to successfully use it for its intended purpose. Design for All/Universal Design: Designing for usability by everyone, regardless of age or ability. Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 2
    3. 3. Basic Premises    “Design for Older Adults, and you design for almost everyone else.” [Alan Newell] Poor usability affects almost everyone, but affects OAs more severely, more frequently. Several populations w/ overlapping usability issues     People w/ low vision or other impairments Second language learners People w/ low literacy People w/ little tech experience Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 3
    4. 4. Background Changing Demographics • Who Is Online? • What Is Everyone Doing Online? • Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 4
    5. 5. #s of US Adult Population, by Age Yea r Source: US Census Bureau Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 5
    6. 6. % US Adults Online, by Age 98 92 83 56 Source: PewInternet.org Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 6
    7. 7. Common Online Activities, by Age Activity 18-33 34-45 46-55 56-64 65-73 74+ Email Search Health Info News 4 4 4 4 4 5 Purchases Travel Banking 5 7 6 6 5 4 6 5 7 5 6 7 6 5 7 4 6 7 1 2 3 Source: PewInternet.org Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 7
    8. 8. Social Network Use, by Age % of Total Social Network Users, by Age Group Source: PewInternet.org Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 8
    9. 9. Social Network Sites, by Age Facebook: 46% increase in 45-54 Twitter: 79% increase in 55-64 Source: PewInternet.org Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 9
    10. 10. 2013: Device Ownership, by Type Source: PewInternet.org Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 10
    11. 11. 2013: Device Ownership, by Age Source: PewInternet.org Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 11
    12. 12. Most Popular Mobile Applications?   Good question! Strong push for “helpful” apps for the 50+ “Devices & Apps for the Elderly” •MedWatcher •Diabetes •Prime Alert •MediSave Virtual Pillbox “Savvy Seniors” •Skype •Story Before Bed •Find My Phone •Over 40 Magnifier •Pillboxie •VizWiz •Dragon Dictation •iDiabetes •BP Monitor “Top Apps for Post50s” •It’s Done •Eye Reader •Pandora •Park’n Find •iTriage •Mint.com •Ambiance •GasBuddy •Fandango •AroundMe Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 12
    13. 13. Tech Can Be Transformative…  Huge potential benefit of usable interfaces to OAs:      Less tech-literate Socially isolated Poor access to transportation Little tech support “A Mac laptop opened up the world to me, right here, from my kitchen table. This is a blessing because my mobility is now extremely limited due to my physical disability.” [NY Times online reader] Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 13
    14. 14. …but All Is Not Well Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 14
    15. 15. We Know How to Do It Right… Pace U Gerontechnology students, empathic modeling Jeff trying a “Wheelchair for All” Part of the team helping students with a new Wii Remote design (UI-UC) Ford’s ‘Third Age Suit’ Helps Architects Design Homes Shopping with AGNES Photo by Nathan Fried-Lipski; MIT AgeLab Testing a prototype of a re-designed walker (UI-UC). Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 15
    16. 16. …So Why Don't We? Can't they make setups that have "universal design" tech elements, like the Jitterbug, to make access and use simpler for everyone?  A lot of usage is far from intuitive, and when it's hard to see or move fingers easily, some things are tough to do.  It would be so darn easy to make things easier for seniors. I don't understand why usability is being ignored. Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real  16
    17. 17. User Interface Design Principles  Recognition (vs. Discoverability iOS 7 Design Android Design recall)  Feedback & Themes Principles  Consistency communication  Deference  Enchant me  Visibility  Conceptual model  Clarity  Simplify my life  Flexibility  Real-world mappings  Depth  Make me amazing  Error prevention,  Constraints recovery  Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 17
    18. 18. User Interface Design Guidelines?       Use sufficient contrast Avoid patterned backgrounds Avoid animation Be consistent Be discoverable Be visible Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 18
    19. 19. What about WCAG 2.0 and Section 508? Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 19
    20. 20. Designers: Is this Really Us?   Tend to design for young and middle-aged people; rarely consider the challenges which their systems will present to older people. [Newell, 2006] Tend to design for people somewhat like themselves, unless forcibly restrained. [Hawthorn, 2009] Seem to design products for themselves. How Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real about delighting the customer? [Orlov, 2013] 20 
    21. 21. “We Have the Technology!” Design Approaches User-Centered Design  Participatory Design  Empathic Design  Design Thinking  Design Tools/Techniques Focus Groups  Ethnographic Studies  Usability Testing  Personas  Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 21
    22. 22. Value of Face-to-Face Encounters     Students (and professors) in design classes often have little personal experience with OAs. Designers tend to discount pure data on OAs. OAs seldom included in participatory design, usability tests. Designers tend to over-estimate OA tech ability until they see it; then they tend to underestimate it. Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 22
    23. 23. Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 23
    24. 24. Reality:  Technology will continue to develop rapidly.  Todays YAs (and others) not 100% technically literate; as they age, they will experience same problems as today's OAs.  Skills, ability to generalize skills to new situations, and willingness to learn new skills decline with age.  As they age, even today's technical literati will face usability issues.  Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 24
    25. 25. Not that we should stay stuck in the present! But: We could design for inclusivity. We could provide much better support. We could make transitions a lot less painful. © 2012, Jack Zylkin, www.usbtypewriter.com Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 25
    26. 26. Individual Differences Age is just a number Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 26
    27. 27. Individual Differences      Cognitive decline begins at ~45 (maybe) Vision starts to “change” at ~40 Hearing loss: 30's, 40's, 50's? Aging is a continuous process Change is not linear, or uniform Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 27
    28. 28. Individual Differences      Effects of aging are highly idiosyncratic Rates of change in abilities are greater Ranges of abilities are greater Coping mechanisms vary widely As a group's age increases:   Averages are less accurate Variability in abilities increases Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 28
    29. 29. Individual Differences “Studies on aging are particularly subject to confounding effects.” [Reddy, 2012] Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 29
    30. 30. Age-Related Changes & Characteristics Visual • Auditory • Motor • Cognitive • Affective/Attitudinal • Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 30
    31. 31. Normal Age-Related Vision Changes  Decreased ability to focus close (presbyopia)     Lower light sensitivity need for brighter lighting Increased sensitivity to glare Reduced sensitivity to color & contrast    need for reading glasses Especially for blue-green wavelengths Narrower field of vision Slower to adapt to changes in lighting Slower to re-focus with changes in distance  Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 31
    32. 32. Normal Vision Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 32
    33. 33. Reduced Ability to Focus Close Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 33
    34. 34. High Glare Sensitivity Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 34
    35. 35. Low Contrast Sensitivity Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 35
    36. 36. Age-Related Vision Disorders      Lens yellowing (common cateract) Glaucoma Macular Degeneration Cataracts (less common type) Diabetic Retinopathy Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 36
    37. 37. Normal Vision Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 37
    38. 38. Lens Yellowing Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 38
    39. 39. Glaucoma Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 39
    40. 40. Macular Degeneration Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 40
    41. 41. Age-Related High-Level Visual Perception Deficits      More trouble recognizing meaning of unlabeled symbols & icons, especially small ones Slower on visual search tasks: spotting target amid distractors Decreased ability to tell if similar objects are the same or different More difficulty reading moving text More likely to lose track of screen-pointer Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 41
    42. 42. Normal Visual Search: Linear unless Target “Pops” in Periphery Linear: Find letter in pile of characters L Q R B T J P L F BM R W S F R N Q S P D C H K U T G T H U J L U 9 J V Y I A E X C F T Y N H T D O L L 8 G V N G R Y J G Z S T 6  Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 42
    43. 43. Normal Visual Search: Linear unless Target “Pops” in Periphery Nonlinear: Find font-style in pile of letters G T H U J L U 9 J V Y I A L Q R B T J P L F BM R W S 3 L C T V B H U S E M U K F R N Q S P D C H K U T W Q E L F G H B Y I K D 9 G V N G R Y J G Z S T 6 S E X C F T Y N H T D O L L8  Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 43
    44. 44. Normal Visual Search: Linear unless Target “Pops” in Periphery   Linear: find item in unfamiliar menu Non-linear: find item in familiar menu Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 44
    45. 45. Seniors: Visual Search is More Often Linear Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 45
    46. 46. Seniors: Visual Search is More Often Linear Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 46
    47. 47. Auditory Harder to:  Filter out background sounds  Localize sounds  Understand fast speech  Detect high-pitched sounds Everyone: 8 kHz Under 50: 12 kHz Under 20: 16 kHz Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 47
    48. 48. 48 48
    49. 49. Motor      Reduced fine-motor control Reduced hand-eye coordination Slower movement Stiffness Increase in hand tremor Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 49
    50. 50. Motor (continued)   Difficulty grasping/manipulating small objects Difficulty with continuous movements   Problems executing coordinated gestures      E.g., click-drag, tap-drag, tap-hold, draw E.g., pinch, spread, double-tap E.g., one- vs. two- vs. three-finger drag Increased variances in movementslower reliability Increased risk of unintentional click or touch (Decreased sense of touch; conductivity?) Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 50
    51. 51. Struggles to Select “Kenya” from Pull-Right Menus Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 51
    52. 52. US Adults with Fine Motor, Vision, or Hearing Impairments 14.5 Age 15.2 % 9.3 6.8 0.6 1.8 5.4 7.5 1.5 Source: Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2010 Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 52
    53. 53. Cognition  Reduced short-term memory/attention span        Difficulty keeping track of task-status Harder to concentrate; more distractable Longer learning times; more repetition required Less generalization (skill transfer) between situations More difficulty retrieving words Reduced ability to “multi-task” (time-share) More susceptible to “change blindness” Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real  53
    54. 54. “At this point… I would call them. This is so overwhelming! … Help!” Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 54
    55. 55. Affective/Attitudinal   Less comfortable with technology Risk averse       Often get frustrated, give up Tendency to assign blame   Strongly prefer familiar paths over efficiency Afraid of “breaking something” Tend to read everything on screen before acting Fear of embarrassment Either to self, or to application Reluctance to give personal info Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 55
    56. 56. Frustrated; wants to quit task: “I would screw this.” Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 56
    57. 57. “It's extremely frustrating. I didn't grow up with computers in my life.” Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 57
    58. 58. Older Adults Execute Computer Tasks More Slowly & Succeed Less Contributing factors:  Slower cognition  Slower or faulty memory retrieval  Slower or inaccurate perception     (e.g., reading & pattern recognition) Slower or shakier movement Caution, hesitance, fear of “breaking it” Combinations of above Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 58
    59. 59. Guidelines for Designing for Older Adults We're working on it! Guidelines for Web-design on WiserUsability.com General design guidelines (including mobile) are in development Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 59
    60. 60. Thank You!    WiserUsability.com 408.806.8451 kfinn@wiserusability.com Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 60
    61. 61. Conducting Usability Tests with Older Adults Recommendations Designing for Older Adults:  Usability Consideration for Real 61
    62. 62. Conducting Usability Tests with Older Adults Test at Participant’s site if possible  Be sensitive to security/privacy concerns  Keep test sessions short  Minimize audio/visual distractions  Use their computer or provide a similar, familiar setup  Avoid speaking in computer/Web jargon  Be patient and respectful  Offer to explain things after the session  Small Older Adults:  Usability Consideration appreciated Designing forcompensation is greatly for Real 62 

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