This is an excerpt of a sample chapter from Jeff Johnson and Kate Finn’s new book Designing User Interfaces for an Aging Population. 2017 Morgan Kaufmann.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Technology is making the world ever smaller: communications are more frequent, transactions are more instantaneous, and reporting is more direct and unfiltered. If you aren’t connected, you can be at a real disadvantage. Another disadvantage is being unable to easily and effectively use digital devices and online resources. As designers, developers, and advocates of digital technology, we should be doing our best to make it useful and usable for everyone, so no one will be at a disadvantage.
We know the benefits of staying mentally, socially, and physically active as we age. Digital technology can help with that. So it seems paradoxical that older adults can be particularly susceptible to the ill effects of poorly designed digital devices and user interfaces. Read More
In my last column, Part 1 of this series, I reviewed my research and analyzed on how people hold, touch, and view mobile phones and tablets. I even provided some guidelines on how to design for touchscreen mobile devices. Now, I’m going to explain how I arrived at those guidelines, going into more detail about everything I’ve learned. Looking beyond simple design tactics, this column describes what people actually do and will help you to understand why they interact with their phones and tablets the way they do.
Design Guidelines for Fingers, Touch, and People
For many years, I have performed foundational research, as well as research that was incidental to my design work. From this research, I have learned a great many things about how people hold, touch, and view smartphones. In fact, because I had gathered data on many different things, it had actually started to get confusing. Read More
Human-computer interaction (HCI) is a rapidly expanding academic research domain. Academic institutions conduct most HCI research—in the US, UK, Europe, Australasia, and Japan, with growth in Southeast Asia and China. HCI research often occurs in Computer Science departments, but retains its historically strong relationship to Psychology and Human Factors. Plus, there are several large, prominent corporations that both conduct HCI research themselves and engage with the academic research community—for example, Microsoft Research, PARC, and Google. Read More