The global population of older people is steadily growing and challenging researchers in the human computer interaction community to design technologies to help them remain independent and preserve their quality of life. Researchers are addressing this challenge by creating assistive technology solutions using information appliances, such as personal digital assistants and mobile phones. Some have questioned whether older people can use information appliances because of age related problems. This chapter discusses work related to designing, implementing, and evaluating mobile applications for the aging. A discussion about what researchers should consider during the design process for information appliances shows the unique challenges posed by this population.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Context Aware Systems: Technology embedded into our environments that communicates location, action, and other variables to help monitor the environment or individual.
Digital Divide: The gap between groups of people who do and do not have access to information technology.
Prototype: A software or paper-based system that has a subset of the final application functionality; integral part of software development that allows researchers to get feedback from users before developing a fully functional system
Walk-Up-and-Use: Technologies that allow people to use the device or application without previous training or instruction (e.g., bank machines, self check-out kiosks at stores).
Cooperative Learning: A method that allows individuals with different abilities to work together to improve their understanding of a subject.
Technology Determinism: Idea that by introducing technology, people will understand and be able to use it.
Information Appliances: Electronic devices that allow people to send and receive various types of media (e.g., PDAs, mobile phones).
Focus Groups: A small group of selected participants who are asked questions about what they think about a specific topic or product (e.g., prototype); participants are free to discuss and build on what other participants say.
Interview: A participant is asked a series of questions by a facilitator to learn the participant’s personal thoughts about a topic or product (e.g., prototype). Facilitators ask more open-ended questions in semistructured interviews and adapt future questions based on participants’ feedback.
Social Network: Connections between individuals with personal and professional relationships. Often the strength of the connections and influences of relationships are taken into account.
Assistive Technologies: Applications and devices that pair human computer interaction techniques and technology to enhance the quality of life for people with various special needs.