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Technology and Older People: Fictions, Facts and The Future

Simon Roberts Digital Health Group Intel Corporation

The Intel logo is a registered trademark of Intel Corporation. © Intel Corporation 2009, All Rights Reserved

Part 1: What we say about older people

“Many older people are not comfortable with technology and can‟t or won‟t use something that they perceive as not for them”
- Anon

“Many older people are technophobic, unfamiliar with computers or somewhat reticent about learning to use them, so the system should be as natural and simple to use” Dewsbury et al

My Mum
“My Mum's got no clue about the Red Button...”

All Mums
“Old people don't want a keyboard. Most of them never spent their life in front of computer and anyway, they can't use a mouse”

Older is Relative

“All works of the mind contain within themselves the image of the reader for whom they are intended”

Jean-Paul Sartre

“It is increasingly meaningless to consider „age‟ as conferring some common social identity or to treat „older people‟ as a distinct social group acting out shared concerns and common interests”
Cultures of Ageing - Gilliard and Hogg

From: Disability Dependence Disadvantage
To: Identity Experience Meaning

Part 2: Older People and Technology

Internet Use
• 6.4 million people over 65 have never used the internet. • 40% aged 55-64 and 60% over 65 do not use the internet at home/ or elsewhere • No growth in internet use in 65+ population

(Sources: Ofcom Adult Media literacy 2005 and Media Literacy 2009, ONS & Oxford Internet Survey 2009)

Social Networks
Users aged 65+ 2008 UK USA France Italy Spain 83,060 221,000 15,800 6,940 6,260 Users aged 65+ 2009 407,620 2,949,700 145,780 118,820 68,460 % increase 390% 1234% 822% 1612% 993%

(Sources: Facebook advertising figures in Nov 2008 and Oct 2009; CIA World Yearbook)

• Growth from a low base • 1/10 internet users over 55 have a profile (Ofcom 2009) • The decline of some „older‟ focused networking sites

Mobile Phones
• 49% own a mobile phone • 82% claim to make one or more calls per week • 30% send SMS with confidence • 24% say they send any texts.

Adults over 65 yrs (Source: Ofcom Adult Media literacy 2005)

Positives Engagement Interaction Enjoyment Confidence

Negatives Anxiety Security Worries Usability

Building Bridges
• Familiar concepts • Content and Conversation • Contact across generations

For more info:

Part 3: What next?

Design for us not for them
• What we want, not what they need • Appeal, tactility, display • Desire

Accessible and Usable Design
• Digital immigrants and Natives • Cognitive and Physical declines • W3C & relevant legislation • Accreditation schemes

Designed & Delivered with Soul
• Designed for the experience not just „needs‟ • Delivery shapes design

Back to the present
>>From: "XXXXXXXXX" <> >>To: "XXXXXXXXX >>Date: July 06, 2009 07:58:08 AM PDT >>Subject: FYI >> Every older person should have an IPHONE. I haven't even set everything, but so far, I have used it to set my med alarms, call AAA, find the phone number of the nearest gas station, check my bank balance, get my med list from Kaiser, read and send email, go to Face book. I haven't tried to barbecue ribs on it yet, but I'm pretty sure that is an option. I haven't set the voice command stuff or the alarm that could be used in case of trouble. It is extremely easy to use, even with my shaky, achy fingers. It's the best investment I ever made!