Jeff Johnson – Tips on How to Make Technology Work Better for Older Adults

Older adults are often left out of the design process when new technologies are created. This leaves them with a less than optimal experience, and can even be dangerous to their health. Digital technology needs to be designed for everyone, not just young people who grew up with it as part of their daily lives.  Technology companies need to include older adults in the design process from the beginning if they want to create products that will really work well for this demographic. Not all older people need help, but some do. Most people go through a period of needing extra support as they age, and many more will be affected by this than we think because life expectancy is increasing rapidly. Many older adults are interested in using new technologies to stay connected with their families and friends or to make it easier for them to manage their finances or get around town independently, but these technologies aren’t always designed with seniors’ needs in mind. The result is that they can find themselves excluded from the benefits of modern technology – a loss not just for them personally, but also for society at large. Design teams should include older members or hire outside advisors who can give feedback during product development and testing phases so that all users have an equal chance at success using these devices and apps.——————– Timestamps: [00:00] Pre-intro dialogue from Jeff Johnson[02:33] Friendly get to know you[03:17] Introduction to Jeff Johnson[04:08] Why did you choose to concentrate on the user interface, design, and how did your background in psychology help you pursue this?[06:18] How do you feel about, the way that technology is often not designed to accommodate older adults?[11:16] What are some of the benefits older adults are missing out on because of this disconnect?[12:41] Are there any features in new gadgets and websites that appeal to older adults and have made their lives better?[16:44] Today’s technology does not work the same as how people think. There is a mismatch between the way things work and what we think.[18:25] How can technology companies make sure their product services are accessible to older adults?[21:51] Are there circumstances where making a separate offering for older adults makes more sense than trying to design one technology that works across all levels of ability?[24:13] Do you think a shift in the way we view elders in society would help make technology more accessible?[28:45] There are many misconceptions about how older adults use technology and their relationship with it. If you could have everyone understand one thing about the way this relationship works, what would that be?[30:37] What’s your favorite aging-related label or classification system that is used at your organization?[33:36] Do you have any other thoughts?[35:43] How do people find you and your book?——————– Bio: Professor Jeff Johnson is a computer scientist who has been in the field for over 40 years. He has worked as an engineer manager, usability tester, and researcher at multiple companies including Cromemco, Xerox, US West, Hewlett-Packard Labs, and Sun Microsystems. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was chair of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility. He’s taught at Stanford University Mills College, and in 2006 and 2013 taught HCI as an Erskine Fellow at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Since 2004 he has served on the SIGCHI Public Policy Committee. In 2013 he presented to Congress about privacy concerns with Facebook’s Timeline feature. LinkedIn:

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