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									                                      Older Users & The Web




    Technology and Older Adults:
 Evolution, Myths, and Revolution

                        Roger W. Morrell, Ph.D.

      Director of Research, GeroTech Corporation
Adjunct Faculty, School of Nursing, Johns Hopkins
                                        University
            Director, Aging & Technology Institute



                        Connecting Technology and Older Adults
Outline
 Myths
 Evolution in Research
 Revolution in Use of Electronic
  Technology by Older Adults
 Recent Projects Resulting from
  the Research
 Briefly Back to Myths



                   Connecting Technology and Older Adults
The Myths




            Connecting Technology and Older Adults
The Myths


  In the beginning, electronic products were
 designed by young people to be used by
 young people.
  Video games
  Computers introduced into schools
  Few advertising efforts were made to
 interest older adults.
  Training opportunities were geared toward
 younger people.


                    Connecting Technology and Older Adults
The Myths


  1) Older adults are less interested in
 learning how to use these technologies.

  2) Older adults simply cannot learn how
 to use these technologies.

  3) Older adults are more anxious and
 have poorer attitudes toward computer
 use relative to younger adults which
 ultimately leads to nonuse.

                     Connecting Technology and Older Adults
The Evolution of Research
For a more detailed discussion of this research:
Older Adults and Information Technology: A
Compendium of Scientific Research and Web
Accessibility Guidelines
Morrell, Dailey, Feldman, Mayhorn, Echt, & Podany, 2003

Available through the National Institute on Aging
Checklist is also available


                          Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Evolution


 Initial research focused on older adults’
attitudes toward the use of electronic technology
and their level of anxiety toward the use of
electronic technology (primarily computers).

 The research began in 1984.

 Most researchers found no age differences in
attitudes.


                       Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Evolution


 Most older adults have positive attitudes
toward the use of computers and other types of
electronic technology.

 Anxiety level did not seem to affect
performance.

 Older adults did not seem to be more anxious
than younger adults in learning how to use
electronic technology.


                       Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Evolution



 We also found that attitudes could be
modified under certain circumstances.

 Longer training periods led to more positive
attitudes and better performance in the training
sessions led to more positive attitudes.

 But the effects were small.



                       Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Evolution

 At the same time, research was focusing on
how older adults learn to use electronic
technology (computers) relative to younger
adults.

 Research began in 1985.

 Cognitive aging researchers and researchers
in Human Factors focused on how they learned
and how best to train them. (about 15 studies)


                      Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Evolution


 We looked at their use of word processing
and spreadsheet software, Line Editors,
Bulletin Boards, interactive computer
programs, and how to acquire basic computer
skills.

 Our research question was: How do they
perform relative to younger adults?




                      Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Evolution


 We found that older adults made more
mistakes and took more time to learn how to
use these products than younger adults.




                      Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Evolution

 We also searched to find the optimal training
method for teaching computer skills to older
adults.

 We looked at advanced organizers, modeling,
manual, and interactive techniques.

 We did not find an optimal training method.
However, self-pacing and peer interaction
seemed to help.


                       Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Evolution


 We then went on to look to see if they could
learn and retain skills over time.

 They can! We showed that adults ranging in
age from 60 - 88 could be taught skills and return
1 - 2 weeks later and be able to perform these
skills.




                        Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Evolution


 More recent research has shown that older
adults can acquire memory training techniques
and software skills, and also glean information
on career development, pre-retirement, and/or
health issues using CD-ROMS.

 (Mahoney, Tarlow, & Jones, 2002; Stoltz-Loike, Morrell, &
Loike, 2004; Plude & Schwartz, 1996; Echt & Kressig, 2001).




                            Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Evolution



 As the Internet became more and more
popular, research focused on older adults’
ability to use the Internet.

 These studies began In 1995.

 Through systematic studies and usability
studies.



                       Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Evolution


 Through systematic studies we again found
that older adults take more time and make more
mistakes when conducting searches.

 The more steps included in a search = more
mistakes

(the complexity hypothesis which says the more
difficult the task the greater the age differences
in performance).


                        Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Evolution

 Through usability studies we found that
navigation on most web sites was a problem.

 The greater the depth of a web site
(the number of levels) the more trouble older
adults had in navigation. Scrolling was also a
problem.

 We also found that normal age-related
differences in vision, memory, comprehension,
and motor skills affected performance.

                       Connecting Technology and Older Adults
The Revolution in Use of Electronic
Technologies




                   Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Revolution


How are Older Adults Using Electronic
Technology?
 In general, it is still true that older adults
use electronic devices less than younger adults.
However, the fastest growing segment
of Internet users are people over the age of 60
relative to new users in other age groups.




                          Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Revolution


 In 1984, about 2.5% of individuals over 55
owned computers. In 1998, about 25% owned
them. And they are purchasing them with rapid
speed so this percentage is increasing.
        (Department of Commerce, 1999, 2002)

 In a recent survey over 70% of elderly
computers owners reported that they have
Internet access and 80% said they have
accessed it in the past month

              (SeniorNet, 1998; Adler, 2002)
                           Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Revolution


 It is predicted that Internet use by the elderly
will increase as much as 358% from 3.7 million
users in 2001 to 17.3 million in 2005.

 At present, it is estimated that about 22% of
older adults are surfing the Web.

    (Scanlon, 2001; Pew Internet & Life Project, 2004)




                           Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Revolution



 This is not surprising because we knew
almost 2 decades ago that computers could be
introduced successfully into a variety of
environments with older adults.

   (Morrell, in press; Morrell, Dailey, Feldman, Mayhorn,
                    Echt, & Podany, 2003)

 So, what are they doing on the Internet?


                            Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Revolution



 They are spending more time online than other age
groups (approximately 8.3 hours per week).

 The are spending more money online than other age
groups.

 The most common items purchased are clothing,
music and compact discs, computer hardware, books,
and computer software (in that order)!

  (e-Marketer, 2000, Greenfield Online, 2000, Willis, 2003)


                             Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Revolution



 A survey that my colleagues and I conducted revealed
that middle-aged adults (ages 40 - 59),
     young-old adults (ages 60 - 74), and
     old-old adults (ages 75+)
most wanted to learn how to do the same things on the
Internet, but they ranked their choices differently.


           (Morrell, Mayhorn, & Bennett, 2000)




                           Connecting Technology and Older Adults
                                Use of Information Technology



          Preferences for Web by
  Preferences in Web Use Use Middle Aged,
               by Age Group
       Young-Old, and Old-Old Adults
             90
             80
             70
             60
Email        50
Travel   %
Health       40
             30
             20
             10
              0
                  Middle-Aged     Young-Old          Old-Old
                                  Age Groups
                    (Morrell, Mayhorn, & Bennett, 2000)


                                Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Revolution



 The reasons they were not accessing the
Internet were:
1) No access to a computer
2) No training opportunities or information

 But just as important:
3) They did not know what they could do on the
Internet or how to find what they wanted to know
suggesting there is a motivational issue here.


                       Connecting Technology and Older Adults
Projects as a Result
    of the Research




   Connecting Technology and Older Adults
The NIH Senior Health Project




            Connecting Technology and Older Adults
Projects



 The NIH Senior Health Project was jointly
sponsored by the National Institute on Aging
and the National Library of Medicine.

 Other institutes at the National Institutes of
Health are will post components on the web
site in the future on other health issues
concerning older adults.



                       Connecting Technology and Older Adults
Projects

The project had two goals in its inception.

 1. To identify the basic and applied research in
cognition and aging, perception and aging, and
human factors and aging that could be used to form
the basis of a set of guidelines to guide the
construction of a web site that met the needs of
older adults. (Guidelines can also be applied to other
electronic products)

 2. Apply the guidelines in the construction of an
      actual web site that would be accessible for
      older adults.

                           Connecting Technology and Older Adults
Projects


 The NIH Senior Health Project employed scientific
findings from basic and applied systematic research
in cognition and aging and human factors and aging
to guide the design of the web site for use by older
adults.

 The web site was designed to serve as a model that
meets elderly accessibility requirements and also 508
accessibility standards, those recently mandated for
persons with disabilities




                          Connecting Technology and Older Adults
Projects


 Age-related changes in vision have implications on
how a web site is designed for older adults. In
particular they affect:

       the typeface, type size, and type
      weight used;
        the amount of contrast between the type and
      backgrounds;
        the spacing of the type and
      justification; and
        and the use of color.
           (Hartley, 1999; Morrell, et al., 2003)

                          Connecting Technology and Older Adults
Projects


 Age-related changes in certain aspects of cognition
(verbal and spatial working memory, text
comprehension ability, and perceptual speed) may
affect how well an individual can perform web
navigation tasks.
        (Craik & Salthouse, 2000; Salthouse, 1991)

 These changes are usually not dramatic but their
presence might interfere in the performance of
computer tasks.
    (Morrell & Echt, 1996, 1997; Morrell, 1997, 2002;
                   Morrell et al. 2003)

                            Connecting Technology and Older Adults
Projects


 Design Implications
            Writing the Text
                 Style
                 Phrasing
                 Complexity
                 Organization of the material
              Incorporating Other Media
                 Illustrations and Photographs
                 Animation, Video, and Audio
                 Text Alternatives

      (Park, 1992; Holt, 2000; Morrell, et al., 2003)

                            Connecting Technology and Older Adults
Projects


There are other aspects of web site construction that
should be taken into consideration to help older
adults navigate a web site.
 Consistent Layouts
 Navigation that is simple and straightforward
 Style and Size of Icons and Buttons
 Scrolling or the lack of scrolling
 Site Maps
 Allow for pages to be read again

           (Holt & Morrell, 2002; Morrell, 2002;
 Morrell, Mayhorn, & Bennett, 2002; Morrell, et al., 2003)

                            Connecting Technology and Older Adults
Unique Aspects and Features of the
        www.NIHSeniorHealth.gov
                        Web Site




                 Connecting Technology and Older Adults
Projects




           Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Projects

 This is the “Talking Web”.




                          Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Projects

 Type size can be immediately enlarged.




                          Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Projects

 Page contrast can be changed.




                         Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Projects

 Example of normal page.




                        Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Projects

 Example of page using the Contrast Feature.




                          Connecting Technology and Older Adults
Projects

 The navigation system is readily apparent
and consistent.




                         Connecting Technology and Older Adults
Projects

 Large buttons are easy to click on.




                          Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Projects

 The typeface and type size used are easy to read.




                          Connecting Technology and Older Adults
Projects

 The videos are a popular feature.




                          Connecting Technology and Older Adults
Projects

 The videos are easy to use.




                         Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Projects

 The videos feature audio and open captioning.




                          Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Projects

 Animations are used to illustrate textual concepts.




                           Connecting Technology and Older Adults
Projects




           BusinessThinking Products
Designed for Use by Mature Workers

                           SeniorThinking, LLC
                     Marian Stoltz-Loike, Ph.D.
                            CEO and President
       Email: mstoltz-loike@seniorthinking.com
                        www.seniorthinking.com

                         Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Projects


 The BusinessThinking products are e-
learning courses on the use of software such as
PowerPoint, Excel, Word, and also about how to
use the Internet for people over the age of 50.
 Other courses include Career Development,
Job Finding, and Pre-Retirement Planning.
 Additional courses are in the development
stage on other issues of importance to older
adults.



                       Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Projects


 All products are designed in CD-ROM format
and can engineered to be accessed through
corporate/government intranets as well as on
the SeniorThinking.com web site.
 The products are designed to be used to
alleviate the high costs of personnel training in
traditional formats.
 The design of all of the products is based on
the guidelines for elder-accessibility developed
by the National Institute on Aging.


                        Connecting Technology and Older Adults
Projects


 An explanation is presented immediately on
how to use BusinessThinking products.




                        Connecting Technology and Older Adults
Projects


 All products begin with an Index.




                         Connecting Technology and Older Adults
Projects


 All courses are carefully organized.




                         Connecting Technology and Older Adults
Projects


 Illustrations and animations are used.




                         Connecting Technology and Older Adults
Projects


 All procedures are presented in a step-by-step
manner.




                         Connecting Technology and Older Adults
Projects


 Design is consistent throughout all products.




                         Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Projects

The Research Component of BusinessThinking
 Initial development was funded by the
National Institute on Aging through an SBIR
grant.
 Usability tests were conducted on all
products with mature adults (ages 50 – 69),
individuals representative of older people still in
the workforce.
 Knowledge assessments were also
    conducted to determine if mature adults
    can learn from the products.
                        Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Projects


What we have found:
 Application of the NIA guidelines have
resulted in almost errorless performance of
usability tasks.
 In some instances, certain subcategories of
information were hard to fine (this information
was not crucial to navigation).




                       Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Projects

 Improvement in knowledge acquisition
improved 23% on information about career
development when the CD-ROM was used
alone.
 We tested taking the CD-ROM home and
using it for one week, adding an instructor-led
Web-based component (via Webex), and adding
a peer2peer component.
 All methods resulted in 50%+ improvement
in performance of tasks after only about 3-4
hours of instruction.

                       Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Projects


 These results suggest that mature adults
can learn from e-learning products whether they
use the products by themselves alone, use
them with two or more people in a small group,
or use them via the Web in a classroom
situtation.




                       Connecting Technology and Older Adults
Projects




           Web Accessibility Tool Box

                                    Annie Becker
    Professor of Computer Information Systems
                         School of Management
                  Florida Institute of Technology
                         Email: abecker@fit.edu
     www.cba.nau.edu/becker-a/Accessibilty/main.html

                            Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Projects


 This series of products can be used to
evaluate features of web sites for
elder-accessibility.
 Research was funded by the National
Science Foundation
 Dottie is similar to Bobbie which is used to
determine how well web sites meet the 508
standards.



                       Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Projects

 The Dottie Tool evaluates a Web Page for
compliance with the NIA guidelines by
generating
a report on
usability
barriers.




                      Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Projects


 The Readme Tool evaluates Web page
content.
 The Readme Tool generates statistics on
reading grade level, syllables, word count,
sentence counts, and average sentence length
for a specified Web page.




                      Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Projects

 The Readme Tool generates a printout.




                      Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Projects

 The Aging Simulator tool demonstrates how
darkening and yellowing of an image is seen by
a 60 or 75
year old.




                      Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Projects


 The Graphic Analyzer uses neural net
technology to transform an image (gif file) onto
one that is seen by a person with color
deficiency.
 The Usability Enforcer transforms a Web
Page by enforcing usability rules associated
with a user profile and computing environment.
 The primary focus is on making a Web page
usable for older adults.



                        Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Projects


 In other work by Annie Becker, a usability
study was conducted on 125 government,
commercial, and nonprofit Web sites designed
to provide health information.
 The NIA guidelines and other factors were
used as gauges to test the elder-accessibility of
the sites.
 Approximately 93% of the sites did not meet
the requirements for elder accessibility.
                 (Becker, in press)

                         Connecting Technology and Older Adults
Back to the Myths




  Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Back to the Myths


 1) Older adults are interested in learning how
to use these technologies.

 2) Older adults can learn how to use these
technologies and retain these skills.

 3) Older adults are not more anxious and do
not have poorer attitudes toward computer use
relative to younger adults.



                       Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Back to the myths




 Electronic products can and should be
designed for the older user.




                     Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Reality Challenges


 “If you build it, will they come?”
 Probably not.
 Lack of current use of government sites and
lack of revisits to other sites.
 This is a motivational issue.
 This is a marketing issue.



                        Connecting Technology and Older Adults
 Reality Challenges

 There are substantial numbers of current
Baby Boomers who do not use computers and
have no intention of using the Web.
 Use in diverse populations. Use by people
with low computer, verbal, and health literacy.
 Pilot and demonstration projects that
disappear due to lack of funding. Research
land is riddled with the ghosts of what could
have been…



                        Connecting Technology and Older Adults
                      Thank you.

          GeroTech Corporation
2120 Greenwatch Way, Suite 200
             Reston, VA 20191
                 703.915.6046
        rmorrell@gerotech.com
            www.gerotech.com


          Connecting Technology and Older Adults

								
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