CUED Publications database

Ageing, Adaption and Accessibility: Time for the Inclusive Revolution!

Mieczakowski, AK and Clarkson, PJ (2013) Ageing, Adaption and Accessibility: Time for the Inclusive Revolution! UNSPECIFIED.

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Abstract

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is becoming increasingly central to many people’s lives, making it possible to be connected in any place at any time, be unceasingly and instantly informed, and benefit from greater economic and educational opportunities. With all the benefits afforded by these new-found capabilities, however, come potential drawbacks. A plethora of new PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, Bluetooth, the internet, Wi-Fi (the list goes on) expect us to know or be able to guess, what, where and when to connect, click, double-click, tap, flick, scroll, in order to realise these benefits, and to have the physical and cognitive capability to do all these things. One of the groups most affected by this increase in high-demand technology is older people. They do not understand and use technology in the same way that younger generations do, because they grew up in the simpler electro-mechanical era and embedded that particular model of the world in their minds. Any consequential difficulty in familiarising themselves with modern ICT and effectively applying it to their needs can also be exacerbated by age-related changes in vision, motor control and cognitive functioning. Such challenges lead to digital exclusion. Much has been written about this topic over the years, usually by academics from the area of inclusive product design. The issue is complex and it is fair to say that no one researcher has the whole picture. It is difficult to understand and adequately address the issue of digital exclusion among the older generation without looking across disciplines and at industry’s and government’s understanding, motivation and efforts toward resolving this important problem. To do otherwise is to risk misunderstanding the true impact that ICT has and could have on people’s lives across all generations. In this European year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations and as the British government is moving forward with its Digital by Default initiative as part of a wider objective to make ICT accessible to as many people as possible by 2015, the Engineering Design Centre (EDC) at the University of Cambridge collaborated with BT to produce a book of thought pieces to address, and where appropriate redress, these important and long-standing issues. “Ageing, Adaption and Accessibility: Time for the Inclusive Revolution!” brings together opinions and insights from twenty one prominent thought leaders from government, industry and academia regarding the problems, opportunities and strategies for combating digital exclusion among senior citizens. The contributing experts were selected as individuals, rather than representatives of organisations, to provide the broadest possible range of perspectives. They are renowned in their respective fields and their opinions are formed not only from their own work, but also from the contributions of others in their area. Their views were elicited through conversations conducted by the editors of this book who then drafted the thought pieces to be edited and approved by the experts. We hope that this unique collection of thought pieces will give you a broader perspective on ageing, people’s adaption to the ever changing world of technology and insights into better ways of designing digital devices and services for the older population.

Item Type: Book
Subjects: UNSPECIFIED
Divisions: Div C > Engineering Design
Depositing User: Cron Job
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 12:00
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2014 17:56
DOI: