Mobile technology has had a huge impact on social and working life in recent years. Mobile devices are becoming the standard communication and personal support network worldwide (as they already are in many developing countries). As the older user population increases in size, and given that mobile technologies can lead to increased community involvement and personal independence, many more people will want to continue professional and personal use of mobile devices into their 70s and beyond. The ageing process can interfere considerably with the use of mobile devices, e.g. due to changes in vision, attention, and motor control and designing mobile technology with older adults poses its own set of challenges. Just how usable and accessible are the well-known HCI techniques when designing with older users? In the absence of a complete methodology for designing with older users, researchers and designers are often left to improvise their own methods which can result in co-design relationships being compromised or weak design insights emerging. Questions remain about how we can best adapt or modify existing methods for working with this group of users.
This workshop series aims to bring together researchers who design with older adults to share their experiences and discuss opportunities for adapting and evaluating existing methods. In running the workshop “Re-imagining Commonly Used Mobile Interfaces for Older Adults” at MobileHCI 2014, one of our stated aims was to maintain a dialogue among the participants with a view to building a community of researchers for whom older adult users are a key focus. This workshop, which builds on the themes and questions around design and evaluation methods emerging from that first meeting should be seen as another important step towards achieving that, with contributors to the first workshop returning as members of the program committee here. The initial workshop led to a special issue of The International Journal of Mobile Human Computer Interaction, for publication in early 2016.
We followed up the first workshop with a the Second Workshop on Designing with Older Adults: Towards a Complete Methodology at MobileHCI 2015. Here our aim was to continue to grow the community and connections, with all papers published as part of the MobileHCI proceedings on the ACM DL.
At the coming CHI 2016 conference there will be a Special Interest Group meeting to advance the study of mobile user interfaces for the aging population. The SIG has three goals: (i) to map the state-of-art, (ii) to build a community gathering experts from related areas, and (iii) to raise awareness within the SIGCHI community.
In October 2016 ITAP 2016 will be held at Kochi University of Technology in Kochi, Japan. The main goal of this symposium is to coordinate efforts and raise awareness on Interactive Technology and Ageing Populations, specifically: To strengthen the state-of-art by synthesizing research efforts that are presently fragmented over various disciplines; to develop a set of research practices and design guidelines to senior-centred computing; to build a community by bringing experts together from different disciplines including HCI, Cognitive Psychology, Gerontology, and Accessibility domains; and to raise awareness among the community people in which issues about older adult have not been well considered.