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Older Adults: Are we really designing for our future selves?

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At UX Cambridge 2016, Elizabeth Buie talked about designing for older adults.

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Older Adults: Are we really designing for our future selves?

  1. 1. Older Adults: Are We Really Designing for Our Future Selves? Elizabeth Buie Senior UX Consultant @ebuie wearesigma.com - @WeAreSigma
  2. 2. “Designing for   our future selves”
  3. 3. “Designing for Our Future Selves” 2015 1993
  4. 4. 2015 1993 It’s a popular theme! “Designing for Our Future Selves”
  5. 5. But does it help?
  6. 6. Well, yes and no.
  7. 7. First, let’s set some expectations.
  8. 8. What I won’t give you today Design guidelines for older adults
  9. 9. Design guidelines for older adults There are plenty of those around. I will include some links in the resources. A B What I won’t give you today
  10. 10. What I offer Some insights into “designing for our future selves”  Thoughts on how it does and does not work Ideas about why it does and does not work An understanding of the issues Why some will persist to your future self Why some will continue to require user research Illustrations from my perspective and experience a b a b A B C
  11. 11. Why design for older adults? Some obligatory stats
  12. 12. “In rich countries, older users are the last Internet frontier as every other age group is already online in vast numbers.” – Jakob Nielsen Source of graph: statista.com Why older adults: Need (part 1) Graph shows worldwide stats from November 2014. A
  13. 13. Source: Office of National Statistics – ons.gov.uk Why older adults: Need (part 2) Internet use declines by age. A It falls off sharply among 75+ age group. B We must make it easier for them. C Graph shows UK stats from Jan-Mar 2015. D
  14. 14. Source: Office of National Statistics Why older adults: Demand Just one year later — wow! A Use among 75+ age group has mushroomed. B Graph shows UK use from Jan-Mar 2016. C From 33% to 39% in one year!
  15. 15. So does it help?
  16. 16. Well, your future self will be an older adult
  17. 17. Who are older adults?
  18. 18. Who are “older adults”? Just how old is “older”?
  19. 19. 40? 50? 60? 65? 90? …  How old is “older”?
  20. 20. EXERCISE  Choose a partner and discuss. 5 min 40? 50? 60? 65? 90? … How old are “older” users? Are you experiencing any changes yourself? What sorts of changes can age bring? a b c When does age start to matter for our designs?d
  21. 21. How do we define “older”? Anyone think 50-year-olds and 90-year-olds face the same age-related issues?
  22. 22. “Age Categories” Studies of older adults start at 50, 55, 60, even 65 — so their findings can vary quite a lot! Presentation: “Segmenting Adult Web Users into Meaningful Age Categories”, by Bob Bailey* Bailey analysed a great deal of research, proposed four UX-related age categories for adult users: Old-old: 75+ Middle-aged: 40-59 Older: 60-74 Young: 20-39 *assets.aarp.org/www.aarp.org_/articles/research/oww/university/Bailey_AgeCategories4.ppt Note the underscore B C a b c d A
  23. 23. OMG, am I “older”?
  24. 24. Am I “older”? Yes At least, I am. I’ll soon be 64
  25. 25. What does it mean?
  26. 26. Why not?
  27. 27. However…
  28. 28. However… (YES, the slogan helps.)
  29. 29. Effects of age-related changes Senses: vision, hearing, touch (also smell, taste) Movement: co-ordination, comfort, speed, steadiness Cognition: memory, information processing, speed of learning, reaction time Attitude: Confidence with new tech, willingness to learn new technologies & procedures B C A D
  30. 30. Changes are unpredictable Begin at different ages Develop at different speeds Reach different levels of severity Happen to some (or, in some cases, most) people, but not to everyone B C A D Impairments can appear sooner, later — or never
  31. 31. Some age-related impairments
  32. 32. Vision: focusing/presbyopia Reduced ability to focus close Reduced ability to change focus quickly People over 35 are at risk I use reading glasses, need slightly larger fonts Most people need reading glasses by age 45 I was 54 B C A a b
  33. 33. Different types of focus errors Images in public domain, adapted from upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/44/Differ-between-eye-errors.png Presbyopia is the only one of these that ageing brings It is due to a decrease in flexibility in the lens and lens muscles Presbyopia is NOT long-sightedness!
  34. 34. Vision: yellowing lens Need higher text/bkgd contrast Need brighter light for printed material Have some difficulty distinguishing shades of blue & green I was “on time” for this, I think B C A
  35. 35. Age related eye conditions* Condition Younger % Older % Diff. Diabetic Retinopathy 40-49, 2.3% 75+, 8.1% 3.5 times Glaucoma 40-49, 0.7% 80+, 7.9% 11 times Cataracts 40-49, 2.5% 80+, 68.3% 27 times Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) 50-54, 0.4% 80+, 11.7% 29 times These can begin at varying ages but ARE age associated *From US data for 2010, provided by the National Eye Institute, US National Institutes of Health
  36. 36. Simulations Normal vision Simulated conditions Diabetic Retinopathy Images by National Eye Institute, US National Institutes of Health
  37. 37. Simulations Normal vision Simulated conditions Diabetic Retinopathy Glaucoma Images by National Eye Institute, US National Institutes of Health
  38. 38. Simulations Normal vision Simulated conditions Diabetic Retinopathy Glaucoma Age-related Macular Degeneration Images by National Eye Institute, US National Institutes of Health
  39. 39. Simulations Normal vision Simulated conditions Diabetic Retinopathy Glaucoma Age-related Macular Degeneration Cataract Images by National Eye Institute, US National Institutes of Health
  40. 40. Hearing: High-frequency loss ≤18, 22kHz ≤24, 17kHz ≤39, 15kHz ≤50, 12kHz ≤60, 10kHz All ages, 8kHz Test yourself! www.noiseaddicts.com/2011/06/mosquito-ringtones B C A D E F In a quiet environment, I can hear “50 and younger” Comes on gradually, beginning very young
  41. 41. Hearing: Voices & listening levels Increasing trouble understanding conversations Higher volume needed for listening comfort I’m noticing a little of this. No idea whether I’m “on time” for it or not. B A
  42. 42. Movement: arthritis, tremours Arthritis frequency/severity increases with age Tremours from nervous diseases more common Both affect hand movement speed and accuracy (typing, mousing, tapping…) B C A I have osteo-arthritis and essential tremour, both of which affect my hands. I may be a little ahead of “schedule” on both of these…
  43. 43. Cognition: reasoning, processing, learning Info processing, working memory, learning may become slower with ageing: fluid intelligence — HOWEVER — Knowledge from education and experience remains throughout life: crystallised intelligence B A I’ve noticed some decline in processing speed The calendar algorithm in my head still works 2-3 years ago it started slowing down a b
  44. 44. Attitude: confidence, willingness Confidence that they can use new technology Willingness to learn new technologies, processes Awareness: Many do not feel “disabled” and may not take advantage of assistive technologies B C A I like my crutch better than the cane I used to use — It conveys disability or injury rather than old age!
  45. 45. Understand and appreciate older adults’ experiences, goals, feelings, needs Listen actively to their stories, perspectives, wishes Relish improving their experience of things they use — WITHOUT patronising them
  46. 46. That’s why people use it.
  47. 47. How does it NOT help?
  48. 48. Today’s older adults differ from your future self
  49. 49. Experience: knowledge of tech Modern tech is unfamiliar to many older adults This will always present design challenges Your future self will have the same problem, BUT— Your problems will involve different technologies May be due to your age when tech was introduced B C A Could you unstick the keys on a manual, mechanical typewriter? Most “younger” people in the USA cannot drive a car with manual transmission D E
  50. 50. Experience: life experience Leads to “crystallised intelligence” “May help explain older people’s relatively high success on ill-defined search tasks” –David Sloan* Your future self will have this as well, BUT— Your life experiences will be different in some important ways B C A D *Web Accessibility and Older People - not as straightforward as you think? www.slideshare.net/sloandr/web-accessibility-and-older-people-not-as-straighforward-as-you-think From P. Fairweather’s “How Older and Younger Adults Differ in their Approach to Problem Solving on a Complex Website
  51. 51. Economics UX work is relatively high paid; the “older adult” population runs the gamut You are still working and earning; most people over 60 are retired and pensioned They have more real estate wealth than you do, on average* Will your future self have similar assets? B C A D * As of 2012, according to the UK Office for National Statistics webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160105160709/http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171776_313608.pdf
  52. 52. World conditions The world is changing in many ways We don’t know how that will affect the outlook and experiences that your future self will bring to technology use Stay tuned! B A
  53. 53. The slogan can blind you to important differences
  54. 54. Right. Can you give some examples?
  55. 55. EXERCISE Coming right up! Select a few guidelines from the list in the handout. For each, tick the boxes where you think it belongs. a b c Write your reasons for ticking those boxes. d If you find a guideline you think should not be a guideline, draw a line through it.
  56. 56. Some examples Provide larger targets Provide clear confirmation a target has been clicked/tapped Do not require older adults to double-click/tap Use alt tags for all images Avoid scrollbars Accessibility Usability Older adults – Ageing and Knowledge Accessibility Older adults - Knowledge Taken and adapted from S. Kurniawan and P. Zaphiris, “Research-Derived Web Design Guidelines for Older People” www.researchgate.net/publication/221652473_Research-derived_web_design_guidelines_for_older_people B C A D E (My guesses)
  57. 57. EXERCISE  Choose a partner and work this together. 10 min Select a few guidelines from the list in the handout. For each, tick the boxes where you think it belongs. a b c Write your reasons for ticking those boxes. d If you find a guideline you think should not be a guideline, draw a line through it.
  58. 58. So what do I absolutely have to remember?
  59. 59. Key take-aways We all age differently Many impairments affecting older adults also affect younger people, just less commonly Some impairments are uniquely due to ageing bodies/brains Some guidelines are based on ageing; others are based on people who were older at the time of the research B C A D
  60. 60. If you remember nothing else… Guidelines based on ageing bodies (including brains) will probably continue to be valid – but keep an eye out for new information! Guidelines based on what people know and don’t know are very likely to become obsolete You will always have to consider what is familiar to older adults, but the specifics will change B A C
  61. 61. The eternal question When you see a guideline based on research with older people, ask yourself this: Is it because they’re older, or because they’re older NOW? ?
  62. 62. When a guideline is based on older adults’ knowledge, validate it!
  63. 63. Validate, validate, validate Before you use a knowledge-based guideline, make sure it’s valid for the older adults in your audience
  64. 64. Some resources Designing for Older Adults: Usability Considerations for Real Users (Finn & Johnson) www.slideshare.net/KateFinn3/designing-for-older-adults-usability-considerations-for-real-users Web Accessibility and Older People - not as straightforward as you think? (Sloan) www.slideshare.net/sloandr/web-accessibility-and-older-people-not-as-straighforward-as-you-think Designing User Interfaces for Older Adults: Myth Busters (Finn) www.uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2013/10/designing-user-interfaces-for-older-adults-myth-busters.php Age and web access: the next generation (Hanson) dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1535658 Designing inclusive ICT products for older users: taking into account the technology generation effect (Lim) www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09544820903317001 Designing Web Sites for Older Adults: A Review of Recent Research (Redish & Chisnell) assets.aarp.org/www.aarp.org_/articles/research/oww/AARP-LitReview2004.pdf Designing Web Sites for Older Adults: Expert Review of Usability for Older Adults at 50 Web Sites (Chisnell & Redish) assets.aarp.org/www.aarp.org_/articles/research/oww/AARP-50Sites.pdf
  65. 65. Thank You! Any questions? wearesigma.com - @WeAreSigma

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