Older Adults and Computer Usage

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Describe the essential applications and computing activities of elderly users.

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  • As most of you may already know, the world is aging. This effect can be reflected from this graph, which is adapted from an article from the United Nation’s Department of economic and social affair.The Y axis is percentage in population. The X axis is the year. An there are three types of bars. The black bars represent the percentage of senior citizen in the world. The dark red bars represent the aging percentage in more developed regions, while the pink bar represents the percentage of aging population for the less developed regions. As you can see, we expect a significant increase of aging population in the world, and the magnitude of increase is much for the more developed regions than the less developed regions. And Singapore, as one of the more developed regions, is inevitably facing a dramatic increase of aged population in the next few decades. An increasing aging population has many implications to our society, such as the issue of unbalanced labor structure, and the increase cost for healthcare, etc. However, since my expertise is in human computer interfaces, I will focus on the characteristics of aging that’s most relevant for using computers. This is occurring in two ways: through shifts in the age structure that will eventually lead to many more people reaching older ages than before, and through continued success in extending life.
  • as compared to their younger counterparts as a result of aging
  • Older Adults and Computer Usage

    1. 1. Older Adults and Computer Usage:Common Activities and Essential Applications Melissa Wong, Kristal Chan, Niti Madhugiri, Shengdong Zhao NUS-HCI Lab, Computer Science National University of Singapore
    2. 2. Background: Aging Society World Singapore Age 65+ in Singapore 2000 : 7% 2030 : 19%
    3. 3. Computers and older adults• Global aging population changed the landscape of information technology industry – Existing older adults increasingly expose to IT • Older adults are now the fastest growing population of computer buyers and Internet users 1, 2 – As we grow up, future older adults will become IT savvy1. Becker, S. A. (2005). E-Government usability for older adults. Communications of the ACM, 48(2), 102–104.2. Hart, T., Chaparro, B., & Halcomb, C. (2008). Evaluating websites for older adults: Adherence to senior-friendly guidelines and end-user performance. Behaviour & Information Technology, 27(3), 191–199.
    4. 4. Motivations• Older adults have different needs and concerns• Current interfaces which are mostly designed for younger users and are too complex for older adults 1• Majority of the functionalities are not needed or used1. Massimi, M., R.M. Baecker, and M. Wu, Using participatory activities with seniors to critique, build, and evaluate mobile phones. ACM SIGACCESS 2007, ACM: 155-162
    5. 5. Motivation• Question: Simple Interface What essential applications and for older adults functionalities should it ??? support?• Not much has been discussed about the use of specific applications for activities that they do 11. Goodman, J.,Syme, A., Eisma, R. (2003). Older adults’ use of computers: A survey. HCI Sept 2003, Bath, Uk.
    6. 6. We are interested to find out the essentialneeds of older adults in computer usage, andhow such needs are reflected in the type ofcomputing activities carried out aswell as the most common computerapplications being used.
    7. 7. InterviewParticipants• 8 computer literate participants (5 male, 3 female, age range 51-73, M: 64.5, SD: 7.89)Format• Semi-structured interview• Questions covered: – Experience with learning and using of computers – Type of computing activities and motivations such activities
    8. 8. ResultsComputer usage Emails Online banking Internet search Document processing Connecting with family/friends Online reservations and ticketing Entertainment
    9. 9. AnalysisInformation seeking • Internet search • Browsers • News
    10. 10. AnalysisInformation seeking Communication • Internet search • Email • Browsers • Video calls • News • Social networking sites
    11. 11. AnalysisInformation seeking Communication • Internet search • Email • Browsers • Video calls • News • Social networking sitesProductivity • Microsoft Office • Online transactions • Photo management
    12. 12. AnalysisInformation seeking Communication • Internet search • Email • Browsers • Video calls • News • Social networking sitesProductivity Entertainment • Microsoft Office • Video channels • Online transactions • Games • Photo management
    13. 13. Take-away & Implications• The essential interface for older adults should probably only include the above functionalities• Make the interface consistent – Changes made to interfaces should be handled carefully as older adults may not adapt effectively
    14. 14. Q&AFor more information• http://hci.comp.nus.edu.sg• http://www.shengdongzhao.com/shen- publications/

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