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Did you miss one? Aging and Health posts from (almost) February 2024

The frustration of the user experience. February was short but busy – but a topic emerged on the last day of January that is beginning to take shape in the form of interviews and insights from others.  All agree that the user experience, whether it is a car, a microwave, Google Gemini or a smartphone is deteriorating, possibly due to nearly-endless but not necessarily useful ‘innovation’ from developers.  Whether it is the ‘cockpit’ of a car that may now have three screens, an authentication process on a website that requires another device, or an app that expects a password that has not been used in the past five years.  Here are the blog posts:

Simpler days are gone for good – what is the fix? Are there innovations on the horizon that will improve the tech user experience? Should there be more user training, obvious and available when a new device is purchased or an upgrade is completed? Should AI software detect when a user is having difficulty and chime in with suggestions? Should improvements be focused on older adults – or is this really a Design for Everyone opportunity? Are tech developers so insulated from users, they don’t see the deterioration of experience as it happened? Read more.

How many older adults are there, really?  Publicly available up-to-date stats about the older adult population is weak or non-existent. The most recent version of ChatGPT admits it cannot state the current population in the US that is aged 75+. Nor can Google. This is somewhat surprising, given the angst in business and market predictions about the aging of the US population and the potential doom that it portends. But anyway, the answer is buried in Census tables. Would you be surprised to learn that there are 25.7 million people aged 75+ today? That 14.8 million are women and 10.8 million are men? Would it surprise that 42% of the 65+ population (60.5 million) is aged 75+?  Read more.

User experience non-design – it’s not just tech devices – consider the stove’s cockpit. Studying the screen plus button choices on a new Microwave, one wonders who tested this interface? Did they really think that the combinations were self-explanatory and intuitive? Or is the convention of poor design so inherent in microwave, oven, and washing machine interfaces, that a ‘cockpit’ design is expected (both by the vendor and the user). Of course, a cockpit is an appropriate term – imagine a pilot sitting down in the left seat of an airplane with zero training on what to touch first. Read more.

Consider Google and its tightly coupled products. You launch the search engine on your phone and are surprised to see all of these ‘news’ items about local topics that have appeared in your Gmail inbox. How personalized. A few years ago, a $395 million settlement with 40 states was reached about Google’s lack of clarity about its location tracking, which users thought they had turned off in settings. An apology followed, along with many more lawsuits and fines, including some large ones in Europe. Did anything change? Not really. In 2024, as a result of European pressure, Google announced how to disconnect some ‘Linked Services’ in Europe, a euphemism for passing your data (you) from one Google product to another, a feature that may appear in the US one day, though will it really change anything? Doubtful. Read more.

 

 

 

 

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