Technology skill and age: what will be the same 20 years from now?

Long Paper

Abstract

Is current research on computing by older adults simply looking at a short-term problem? Or will the technology problems that plague the current generation also be problematic for today’s tech-savvy younger generations when they become “old”? This paper considers age-related and experience-related issues that affect ability to use new technology. Without more consideration of the skills of older users, it is likely that applications and devices 20 years from now will have changed such that this “older” generation finds themselves confronting an array of technologies that they little understand and find generally inaccessible. Recent evidence suggests that older adults bring specific strengths to Web browsing. A fuller investigation of these strengths and how to design to optimize for strengths of older users has the potential to address the need for usable technology for this increasingly important demographic.

Keywords

Aging Web Cognition 

References

  1. 1.
    Abou-Zahra, S., Brewer, J., and Arch, A.: Towards bridging the accessibility needs of people with disabilities and the ageing community. In: Proceedings of the 2008 international Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility (W4A) (Beijing, China, April 21–22, 2008). W4A ‘08, vol. 317 pp. 83–86 ACM, New York (2008)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Adams N., Stubbs D., Woods V.: Psychological barriers to Internet usage among older adults in the UK, Informatics for Health and Social Care 30(1), 3–17 (2005)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Adams, R.: Decision and stress: cognition and e-accessibility in the information workplace. Univ. Access Inf. Soc. 5(4), 363–379 (2007). doi:10.1007/s10209-006-0061-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
  5. 5.
    Alex.: http://www.welcometoalex.com/page/index.cfm Retrieved January 3, 2011
  6. 6.
    Arch, A.: WAI-AGE Literature Review and Analysis: Observations and Conclusions (2008) [Editor’s DRAFT-21 August 2008] http://www.w3.org/WAI/WAI-AGE/conclude.html Retrieved January 3, 2011
  7. 7.
    AskGeriatric.: (2009). http://www.askgeriatric.com/ Retrieved January 3, 2011
  8. 8.
    Aula, A.: User study on older adults’ use of the Web and search engines. Univ. Access Inf. Soc. 4, 67–81 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Aula, A., Käki, M.: Less is more in Web search interfaces for older adults (2005). First Monday (Online), 10(7) (4 July 2005)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association.: http://www.ascca.org.au/ Retrieved January 3, 2011
  11. 11.
    Basson, S., Fairweather, P.G., Hanson, V.L.: Speech recognition and alternative interfaces for older users. Interactions 14(4), 26–29 (2007). doi:http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1273961.1273980 Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Becker, S.A., Nowak, L.L.: Usability enforcer and dottie software tools: promoting e-government accessibility for older adults. In: Proceedings of the 2003 Annual National Conference on Digital Government Research (Boston, MA, May 18–21, 2003). ACM International Conference Proceeding Series. Digital Government Society of North America, 130, 1–1 (2003)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Bobby.:http://www.cast.org/products/Bobby/index.html Retrieved January 3, 2011
  14. 14.
    Brabazon, T.: From Eleanor Rigby to Nannanet: The graying of the World Wide Web. First Monday [Online], 10(12) (2005)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Brewer, J.: Web Accessibility Initiative (2010). http://www.w3.org/WAI/ Retrieved January 3, 2011
  16. 16.
    Caring Family.: (2008). http://www.caringfamily.com/public/service/how_it_works.cfm Retrieved January 3, 2011
  17. 17.
    Chadwick-Dias, A., Bergel, M., Tullis, T.: Senior surfers 2.0: A re-examination of the older web user and the dynamic Web. In: Stephanidis, C (ed.) Universal Access in Human Computer Interaction: Coping with Diversity—Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction (Appears as Volume 5 of the combined Proceedings of HCI International 2007), pp. 868–876 (LNCS 4554). Springer Heidelberg (2007)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Chadwick-Dias, A., Tedesco, D., Tullis, T.: Older adults and web usability: is web experience the same as web expertise? In: CHI ‘04 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Vienna, Austria, April 24–29, 2004). CHI ’04, pp. 1391–1394. ACM, New York (2004). doi:http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/985921.986072
  19. 19.
    Chin, J., Fu, W., Kannampallil, T.: Adaptive information search: age-dependent interactions between cognitive profiles and strategies. In: Proceedings of the 27th international Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Boston, MA, USA, April 04–09, 2009). CHI ’09, pp. 1683–1692, ACM, New York (2009) doi:http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1518701.1518961
  20. 20.
    Coleman, G.W., Gibson, L., Hanson, V.L., Bobrowicz, A., McKay, A.: Engaging the disengaged: How do we design technology for digitally excluded older adults? In: Proceedings of the 8th ACM Conference on Designing interactive Systems (Arhus, Denmark, August 16–20, 2010). DIS ’10, pp. 175–178 ACM, New York (2010). doi:http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1858171.1858202
  21. 21.
    Convertino, G., Farooq, U., Rosson, M.B., Carroll, J.M., Meyer, B.J.F.: Supporting intergenerational groups in computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW). Behav Inform Technol 26, 275–285 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Coyne, K.P., Nielsen, J.: Web Usability for Senior Citizens—design guidelines based on usability studies with people age 65 and older. Nielsen Norman Group, April 2002, pp. 126 (2002). An overview is available at http://www.useit.com/alertbox/seniors.html Retrieved January 3, 2011
  23. 23.
    Craik, F.I.M., Salthouse, T.A.: The handbook of aging and cognition (Revised Edition). Mahwah, Erlbaum, NJ (2000)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Czaja, S.J., Charness, N., Fisk, A.D., Hertzog, C., Nair, S.N., Rogers, W.: Factors predicting the use of technology: findings from the center for research and education on aging and technology enhancement (create). Psychol Aging 21(2), 333–352 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Czaja, S. J., Lee, C.C.: Information technology and older adults. In: Sears A., Jacko J.A., (eds.) Human-Computer Interaction Handbook: fundamentals. EvolvTechnol Emerg Appl (2nd Edition), pp. 777–792. Mahwah, Erlbaum, NJ (2007)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Czaja, S.J., Lee, C.C.: The impact of aging on access to technology. Univ. Access Inf. Soc. 5, 341–349 (2007). doi:10.1007/s10209-006-0060-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Czaja, S. J., Sharit, J.: Preparing organizations and older workers for current and future employment: training and retraining issues. In: Czaja S., Sharit J (eds.) Aging and work: issues and implications in a changing landscape. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. pp 259–278 (2009)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Czaja, S.J., Sharit, J., Hernandez, M.A., Nair, S.N., Loewenstein, D.: Variability among older adults in Internet health information seeking. Gerontechnology. 9, 46–55 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Davidoff, S., Bloomberg, C., Li, I.A., Mankoff, J., Fussell, S.R.: The book as user interface: lowering the entry cost to email for elders. In: CHI ‘05 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Portland, OR, USA, April 02–07, 2005) CHI ’05, pp. 1331–1334, ACM, New York (2005). doi:http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1056808.1056909
  30. 30.
    Dickinson, A., Smith, M.J., Arnott, J.L., Newell, A.F., Hill, R.L.: Approaches to web search and navigation for older computer novices. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (San Jose, California, USA, April 28–May 03, 2007). CHI ‘07, pp. 281–290, ACM, New York (2007)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Echt, K.V.: Designing web-based health information for older adults: Visual considerations and design directives. In: Morrell R.W. (ed.) Older Adults, Health Information and the World Wide Web pp. 61–88, Mahwah, Erlbaum, NJ (2002)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    ElderMail.: (2007). Retrieved December 20, 2007 from http://eldermail.net/ Retrieved January 3, 2011
  33. 33.
    Fairweather, P.G.: How older and younger adults differ in their approach to problem solving on a complex website. In: Proceedings of the 10th international ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, October 13–15, 2008). Assets ’08, pp. 67–72, ACM, New York (2008). DOI=http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1414471.1414485
  34. 34.
    Firefox accessibility extension. http://firefox.cita.uiuc.edu/index.php Retrieved January 3, 2011
  35. 35.
    Forbes, P., Gibson, L., Hanson, V.L., Gregor, P., Newell, A.F.: Dundee user centre: a space where older people and technology meet. In: Proceedings of the 11th international ACM SIGACCESS conference on Computers and accessibility (Assets ‘09) pp. 231–232, ACM, New York (2009) doi:10.1145/1639642.1639690
  36. 36.
    Generations Online.: (2009). http://www.generationsonline.com Retrieved January 3, 2011
  37. 37.
    Green, M.: Unpacking “I don’t want It”—why novices and non-users don’t use the Internet. First Monday [Online], 11(9), (2005)(4 September 2006)Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Gregor, P., Newell, A.F., Zajicek, M.: Designing for dynamic diversity–interfaces older people. In: Proceedings of the 5th International ACM SIGCAPH Conference on Assistive Technologies (ASSETS’02), pp. 151–156, (2002)Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Hailpern, J.M.: WISE: A wizard interface supporting enhanced usability. In: Proceedings of the 8th international ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (Portland, Oregon, USA, October 23–25, 2006). Assets ’06 pp. 291–292. ACM, New York (2006)Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Hanson, V.L.: Web access for elderly citizens. In: Proceedings of the 2001 EC/NSF Workshop on Universal Accessibility of Ubiquitous Computing: Providing For the Elderly (Alcácer do Sal, Portugal, May 22–25, 2001). WUAUC’01 pp. 14–18, ACM, New York (2001). doi:http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/564526.564531
  41. 41.
    Hanson, V.L.: Age and web access: The next generation. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Workshop on Web Accessibility, W4A (Madrid, Spain, April 20–21, 2009). W4A ‘09, pp. 7–15, ACM, New York (2009). doi:http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1535654.1535658
  42. 42.
    Hanson, V.L., Brezin, J., Crayne, S., Keates, S., Kjeldsen, R., Richards, J., Swart, C., Trewin, S.: Improving Web accessibility through an enhanced open-source browser. IBM Systems Journal 44(3), 573–588 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Hanson, V.L., Lesser, E.: Implications of an aging workforce: an industry perspective. In: Czaja S., Sharit J (eds.) Aging and work: issues and implications in a changing landscape, pp 90–104. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore (2009)Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Hanson, V.L., Richards, J.T., Lee, C.C.: Web access for older adults: Voice Browsing? In: Stephanidis C. (ed.) Universal Access in Human Computer Interaction: Coping with Diversity—Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction (Appears as Volume 5 of the combined Proceedings of HCI International 2007) pp. 904–913 (LNCS 4554). Springer, Heidelberg (2007)Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Hanson, V.L., Richards, J.T., Swart, C.: Browser augmentation. In: Harper S., Yesilada Y. (eds.). Web accessibility: a foundation for research, human computer interaction series, pp 215–229. Springer (2008)Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Hanson, V.L., Snow-Weaver, A., Trewin, S.: Software personalization to meet the needs of older adults. Gerontechnology, 5 (3), 160–169 Harper, S., & Yesilada, Y. 2008. Web Accessibility: A Foundation for Research, Human Computer Interaction Series. S. Harper & Y. Yesilada (eds.). Springer (2006)Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Harper, S., Yesilada, Y. (eds.). Web accessibility: a foundation for research, Human Computer Interaction Series. Springer (2008)Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Hawthorn, D.: Training wheels for older users. In: Proceedings of OZCHI, Canberra, Australia. (2005)Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Holt, B.J., Komlos-Weimer M.: Older Adults and the World Wide Web: a Guide for Web Site Creators. SPRY Foundation, pp. 36 (1999).PDF available at http://www.spry.org/pdf/website_creators_guide.pdf Retrieved January 3, 2011
  50. 50.
    Holt, B.J., Morrell, R.W. Guidelines for web site design for older adults: the ultimate influence of cognitive factors. In: Morrell, R.W. (ed.) Older adults, health information, and the World Wide Web, pp. 109–129, Erlbaum (2002)Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    HSBC: The future of retirement. (2008). http://www.ageing.ox.ac.uk/supporters/hsbc Retrieved January 3, 2011
  52. 52.
    Jacko, J.A., Barreto, A.B., Marrnet, G.J., Chu, J.Y.M., Bautsch, H.S., Scott, I.U., Rosa, R.H.: Low vision: the role of visual acuity in the efficiency of cursor movement. In: Proceedings of the 4th International ACM SIGCAPH Conference on Assistive Technologies (ASSETS’00), pp. 1–8, (2000)Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Jacobs, I., Gunderson, J., Hansen, E. (eds.) W3C user agent accessibility guidelines 1.0 (2002). http://www.w3.org/TR/UAAG10 Retrieved January 3, 2011
  54. 54.
    Johnson, R., Kent, S.: Designing universal access: web-applications for the elderly and disabled. Cognition, Technology, and Work, 9(4), 209–218 (2007). doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10111-007-0063-2
  55. 55.
    Jones, A., Fox, S. Generations online 2009 (2009). http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/275/report_display.asp Retrieved January 3, 2011
  56. 56.
    Keates, S., Trewin, S.: Effect of age and Parkinson’s disease on cursor positioning using a mouse. In: Proceedings of the 7th international ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (Baltimore, MD, USA, October 09–12, 2005). Assets ’05, pp. 68–75. ACM, New York (2005) doi:http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1090785.1090800
  57. 57.
    Kelly, B., Sloan, D., Brown, S., Seale, J., Petrie, H., Lauke, P., Ball, S.: Accessibility 2.0: people, policies and processes. In: Proceedings of the 2007 international Cross- Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility (W4A) (Banff, Canada, May 07–08, 2007). W4A ‘07, pp. 138–147, ACM, New York (2007). doi:http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1243441.1243471
  58. 58.
    Kurniawan, S. Zaphiris, P. Research-derived web design guidelines for older people. In: Proceedings of the 7th international ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (Baltimore, MD, USA, October 09–12, 2005). Assets ’05, pp. 129–135, ACM, New York (2005)Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Lewis, C., Menn, M.: Access tool? Accelerating treadmill? Technology and the aging population. In: Stephanidis, C. (ed.) Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction. Addressing Diversity, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, LNCS 5614, pp. 263–268. Springer, Heidelberg (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Mankoff, J., Dey, A., Batra, U., Moore, M.: "Web accessibility for low bandwidth input,” In: Proceedings of the 5th International ACM SIGCAPH Conference on Assistive Technologies (ASSETS’02) pp. 17–24, (2002)Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Meyer, B., Sit, R.A., Spaulding, V.A., Mead, S.E., Walker, N.: Age group differences in world wide web navigation. In: CHI ‘97 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems: Looking To the Future (Atlanta, Georgia, March 22–27, 1997). CHI ’97, pp. 295–296 ACM, New York (1997). doi:http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1120212.1120401
  62. 62.
    Milne, S., Dickinson, A., Gregor, P., Gibson, L., McIver, L. Sloan, D.: Not browsing, but drowning: Designing a Web browser for novice older users. In: Proceedings of UAHCI, Las Vegas, Nevada 22–27 July 2005. CDROM (2005)Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Monk, A.: Why do the older old have problems with new domestic technologies? (2009) http://www.iden.org.uk/londonevent.asp Retrieved January 3, 2011
  64. 64.
    Morrell, R.W., Dailey, S.R., Feldman, C., Mayhorn, C.G., Echt, K.V.: Older adults and information technology: a compendium of scientific research and Web site accessibility guidelines. Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Aging. For a summary, see also “Making your web site senior friendly: A checklist” (2002). http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/checklist.pdf Retrieved January 3, 2011
  65. 65.
    Muta, H., Ohko, T., Yoshinaga, H.: An activeX-based accessibility solution for senior citizens. In: Proceedings of the Center On Disabilities Technology And Persons With Disabilities Conference 2005 (2005). http://www.csun.edu/cod/conf/2005/proceedings/2227.htm Retrieved January 3, 2011
  66. 66.
    Needs of older users: (2008). http://www.w3.org/WAI/WAI-AGE/needs.html Retrieved January 3, 2011
  67. 67.
    Newell, A.F., Dickinson, A., Smith, M.J., and Gregor, P.: Designing a portal for older users: a case study of an industrial/academic collaboration. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction. 13(3), 347–375Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    Ofcom.: Accessing the internet at home: A quantitative and qualitative study among people without the internet at home. (2009) http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/research/telecoms-research/bbathome.pdf Retrieved January 3, 2011
  69. 69.
    Old Kids. http://www.oldkids.cn/ Retrieved January 3, 2011
  70. 70.
    Park, D.C.: Applied cognitive aging research. In: Craik, F.I.M., Salthouse, T.A. (eds.) The handbook of aging and cognition, pp. 449–493. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ (1992)Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    PointerWare. http://www.mysoftshell.com/c/pages/home Retrieved January 3, 2011
  72. 72.
    Posner, M.I. (ed.): Foundations of Cognitive Science. MIT Press, Cambridge (1989)Google Scholar
  73. 73.
    Presto. http://www.presto.com/ Retrieved January 3, 2011
  74. 74.
    Rabbitt, P.: When age is in, the wit is out? In: Sala, S. (ed.) Mind Myths: Exploring Popular Assumptions about the Mind and Brain, pp. 165–186. Wiley, London (1999)Google Scholar
  75. 75.
    Rabbitt, P.: Tales of the unexpected: 25 years of cognitive gerontology. The Psychologist 19(11), 674–676 (2006)Google Scholar
  76. 76.
    Readability. http://lab.arc90.com/experiments/readability/ Retrieved January 3, 2011
  77. 77.
    Richards, J.T., Hanson, V.L.: Web accessibility: A broader view. In the Proceedings of the Thirteenth International ACM World Wide Web Conference (WWW’04), 72–79. ACM Press, New York (2004)Google Scholar
  78. 78.
    Sa-nga-ngam, P., Kurniawan, S.: An investigation of older persons’ browser usage. In: Proceedings of HCI International - Universal Access in HCI, vol. 5, Beijing, China. July 22–27, 2007. Springer (2007)Google Scholar
  79. 79.
    Sayago, A., Blat, J.: About the relevance of accessibility barriers in the everyday interactions of older people with the web. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility (W4A) (W4A ‘09), pp. 104–113. ACM, New York, (2009). http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1535654.1535682
  80. 80.
    Selwyn, N., Gorard, S., Furlong, J., Madden, L.: Older adults’ use of information and communications technology in everyday life. Ageing & Society 23, 561–582 (2003). doi:10.1017/S0144686X03001302 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. 81.
    SeniorNet. http://www.seniornet.org Retrieved January 3, 2011
  82. 82.
    Simple, C. http://www.simplec.com/ Retrieved January 3, 2011
  83. 83.
    simplcITy computers. http://www.discount-age.co.uk/simplicity_computers/ Retrieved January 3, 2011
  84. 84.
    Small, G., Vorgan, G.: Surviving the technological alternation of the modern mind. Harper Collins, New York (2008)Google Scholar
  85. 85.
    Trewin, S.: Automating accessibility: the dynamic keyboard. In: Proceedings of the 6th international ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (Atlanta, GA, USA, October 18–20, 2004). ASSETS ’04, pp. 71–78, ACM, New York (2004). doi:http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1028630.1028644
  86. 86.
    Tullis, T.S.: Older adults and the web: lessons learned from eye-tracking. In: Stephanidis C. (ed.) Universal Access in Human Computer Interaction: Coping with Diversity—Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction (Appears as Volume 5 of the combined Proceedings of HCI International 2007), pp. 1030–1039 (LNCS 4554). Berlin Heidelberg: Springer (2007)Google Scholar
  87. 87.
    Xie, B.: Perceptions of computer learning among older Americans and older Chinese. First Monday [Online], 11(10), (2006) (2 October 2006)Google Scholar
  88. 88.
    Zickuhr, K.: Generations. (2010) http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Generations-2010.aspx Retrieved January 3, 2011
  89. 89.
    Zajicek, M.: Web 2.0: Hype or happiness? In: Proceedings of the 2007 international Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility (W4A). (Banff, Canada, May 07–08, 2007). W4A ‘07, vol. 225, pp. 35–39 ACM, New York (2007)Google Scholar
  90. 90.
    Zajicek, M.: Patterns for encapsulating speech interface design solutions for older adults. In: Proceedings of the 2003 Conference on Universal Usability (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, November 10–11, 2003). CUU ’03, pp. 54–60, ACM, New York (2003). doi:http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/957205.957215
  91. 91.
    Zajicek, M., Powell, C., Reeves, C.: A Web navigation tool for the blind. In: Proceedings of the Third international ACM Conference on Assistive Technologies (Marina del Rey, California, United States, April 15 - 17, 1998). Assets ’98, pp. 204–206. ACM Press, New York (1998)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Computing, University of DundeeDundeeUK

Personalised recommendations