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Web accessibility - the next generation

Web accessibility - the next generation



Vicki Hanson's W4A 2009 presentation on supporting older web users.

Vicki Hanson's W4A 2009 presentation on supporting older web users.



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    Web accessibility - the next generation Web accessibility - the next generation Presentation Transcript

    • Web Accessibility: The Next Generation Vicki Hanson
    • Following WAI-AGE
    • Pose the Question • When today’s young adults become ‘older adults’ will they exhibit difficulties with technology characteristic of the current older generation?
    • Despite Aging Issues... • “Aren’t you talking about a problem that will go away?” • problems of current older generation will not plague current Gen X and Y when they become “old”
    • Purpose of this Talk • Begin a discussion of technology expertise as related to aging • Question: • Are technology difficulties an inescapable fact of aging?
    • The Older User • All have stories of older relatives and technology problem • Confound of expertise and age • Tech-savvy generation believes this will not characterize their generation • Does not take into account • Current trends in technology adoption • Improvements in design (anticipated)
    • Age • At what age does a person become “older” • No general agreement • 60? 65? 50? 40? • Studies report age, but reviews blur this - “older” or “elderly” as a group
    • Current Divide, but Changing? 45% % Online Based on Jones & Fox, 2009
    • Why? • Lack of access • Lack of experience • Lack of ability • Lack of interest • Cohort effect • Retirement
    • Why? Lack of Access • Can be expensive • Particularly if you aren’t sure what you will use it for • “Hand-me-ups” • Libraries • Centers for older adults • Levels of access (Selwyn et al, 2003)
    • Why? Lack of Experience • Fear • Fear of buying computers • Fear of breaking computers • If it breaks, who will help? • Fear generated by computers when using • “You have performed an illegal operation” • Fear of trying something new • Hard to learn new things • Blame themselves when something doesn’t work • Hard to understand computer terms and concepts
    • Why? Lack of Trust • Lack of trust is at many levels • Stories on the news • identity theft • online banking and shopping • Trust people, not machines • Like the personal touch
    • Why? Lack of Interest • Most often cited reason for non-use • Many, though, just want to be “current” • What can it do that is useful? • Life has been fine without computers • Often want more ‘personal’ contact • Loneliness • May be that not everyone needs them • Mismatch with needs in interests as demonstrated by what is used...
    • Why? Retired • Not interested in learning new things just for the sake of keeping up
    • Why? Cohort Effect • Abilities and interests influenced by our age cohorts
    • Why? Lack of Ability • Today’s older adults are better educated, more diverse, healthier, and more active than previous generations • However... • Age-related disability • Most older adults have some declines that affect ability to use computers
    • Age Related Changes - Cognition • Perceptual, motor, cognitive • Dynamic Diversity • Fluid intelligence • Affects ability to learn new things • STM, speed of processing • Allows people to think quickly and reason abstractly • Complexity of Web, Web 2.0
    • Age Related Changes - Supporting Older Users • Classes • W3C Guidelines - WAI-AGE • Browser modifications
    • Specialized Browsers • Simplified interfaces • Number of commercial and experimental offerings • Ideal for getting novices started • Relatively short lives • Lack of full Web functionality • Difficult to get help • Not wanting to be “different”
    • User Modification of Pages • No single page rendering will be ideal for everyone • Browser features • User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (W3C) • Transcoding • Browser augmentation
    • Unique Browsing • Older Web users are not just deficient younger users - they browse differently • Looked at strategies for problem solving (not comparing times, numbers) • Age did not predict success • Hypothesized reason: Solution required specialized knowledge, experience, and vocabulary • While fluid intelligence abilities decline with age, crystallized intelligence abilities do not Fairweather, 2008
    • Similarly ... • Compared older and younger adults • Well-defined vs ill-defined search tasks • On ill-defined, older adults performed better than younger adults • Search behavior depended on task • Spent more time processing, comprehending, and deciding on ill-defined tasks • Hypothesis again related to cognitive abilities Chin, Fu, & Kannampallil, 2009
    • Original Question • When today’s young adults become ‘older adults’ will they exhibit difficulties with technology that appear to characterize the current older generation?
    • Reasons to Think So • Age-related disability will not disappear • As with the current generation, this will continue to present problems of learning new technologies • Technology will not remain the same
    • Disability Ability and Changes Age
    • Reasons to Think Not • Future generations will have technology skills not in the repertoire of current older adults • Trends towards remaining longer in the workforce; new skills deteriorate with retirement
    • Age and Experience Experience Age
    • Ability and Experience Where is this intersection? Crystallized intelligence? Disability Experience As technologies develop, there may be a point (or points) where the next generation can no longer use Age
    • Questions? vlh@acm.org