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Television/Smart TV

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Television/Smart TV

2011's AARP prediction for older adults: technology to live your best life

An old report, the core concept of Connected Living was excellent and predictive.  Thirteen years ago, AARP sponsored research that posed questions about technology’s future role in connecting older adults with families, resources and each other. With input from 30 industry experts, the research attempted to determine how technology could better serve older adults moving forward. The result was a 2011 report called Connected Living for Social Aging: Designing Technology for All. You won’t find it on AARP’s website – it’s too old.  But it is very interesting, especially given that year's low technology adoption and extremely limited use among older adults compared to today. The report accurately predicted the major role technology would take in their lives as they aged, though experts were not exactly sure how.

Predictions from report -- The Tech User Experience Needs an Upgrade

The decline of our tech experience was slow  it was barely noticeable for a while. Then device proliferation in homes – and the corresponding frustration became too obvious to miss. An AARP report notes, "No one prefers badly designed, over-complicated products." Yet that's what we get. Despite preferences, surveys show that today’s user experience for older adults is more problematic than ever. All are confronted with buggy software and frequent bug fix releases, such as a problem on iPhones that an embarrassed Apple redirected software work towards fixing. At the same time, innovation in new categories like Conversational and GenAI, machine learning and prediction have emerged and can help improve experiences if deployed properly. Over the next five years, it is highly likely that:

Our future tech interactions mandate personalized user experiences

The mindset of ‘get the product out the door’ sets the stage for poor user experience. For market researchers, there are many data-driven ways to gauge consumer preferences today, and tech companies can chose among surveys, interviews, focus groups and customer observation. Product life cycles in newer tech categories are shrinking, with consumers willing to replace devices that still work with newer models, hence the apparent ‘Ready, Fire, Aim’ tech cycle. In the future, we will need a new paradigm for tech user experience that can span our multiple interactions, driven by an opt-in profile about preferences and personal characteristics that can better shape interactions.  We will expect that our profile will drive technology access. Today’s fragmented tech experience offers behaviors based on a disconnected set of profiles – a Starbucks profile knows what coffee I like, a Gmail profile knows about my Inbox preferences, and Marriott knows what kind of room or bed is preferred. In the future and with the assistance of conversational AI, the user should be able to override those and specify a profile that spans all tech interactions, acting as a complexity-hiding agent on the user’s behalf.  

For big tech, "Ready, Fire, Aim" design approaches are user-hostile

What happens when engineers believe that no matter what, the customers will buy? Rant on. Look at the forum discussions of problems after Apple’s release in November, or consider Google’s Gemini self-humiliation.  Will users turn in their iPhones in disgust? Stop using Gmail in protest? What about the Tesla that is so cool it does not have to identify clearly how to open the door, or put the car into drive or reverse? Was the car returned? Will customers return a device they don’t understand? Consider Windows 11 updates are tormenting users, again per Microsoft’s own forum. Will people give up using the PC? Not likely. 

Did you miss one? March blogs lament deteriorating user experience

The decline of design.  As interviews proceed for the upcoming report, The Future of the Tech User Experience, all agree.  The deteriorating user experience, aka UX, is the result of fragmentation across multiple devices, portals, and websites. Product development has superseded UX. The pre-development focus group has been largely abandoned in favor of a post release shock-and-awe experience both for developers (bad PR) and customers (just plain bad).  And it is not just tech – consider the impenetrable smart TV interface, the microwave button-display combination, the new car that lacks readable warning lights and other user interface issues.  Here are the blog posts from March:

The User Experience Confounds Cooks, Drivers, and TV Viewers

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.

AARP 2024 Tech Survey: Change Continues to Outpace Older Adults

The 2024 survey is out – some might say it is positive about tech adoption.  Older adults (age 50+) own nearly every tech owned by those age 18-49. They have smartphones, tablets, Smart TVs, wearables – with the same disinterest in smart home technologies. The cynical among us might say that some tech change (like the 3G to 5G cutover) forced smartphone adoption.  And so the growth in smartphone ownership is led by older adults And it’s pretty tough to buy a ‘dumb TV’ these days even if you wanted one, though it’s feasible.  

Older Adults Embrace Telehealth as a result of Covid-19

12/05/2022

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – February 24, 2022 – Independa, an award-winning TV-based platform providing remote engagement, education and care, today announced the results of their second-annual commissioned survey of U.S. adults caring for their older adult parents.

Smart home devices are dumb about tech support

Smart home devices are not smart about tech support. The future of the smart home and older adult users has not quite arrived. It is just as well – younger device owners are struggling. According to Parks Associates,Households with heads of household ages 35-44 are the most likely to experience technical issues with their devices.” Not surprising, since that group owns the most devices These tech-proficient users try to troubleshoot the problem themselves. And they become frustrated. Consider this understatement from Jennifer Kent of Parks: "Consumers clearly desire a self-help approach first but need more effective tools to solve the problems on their own." Otherwise, according to the Parks document, they become frustrated, write negative reviews and return the products. And these folks are aged 35-44.

ONSCREEN EXPANDS TEAM TO SCALE VIDEO CALLING FOR OLDER ADULTS

11/01/2022

ORANGE COUNTY, CA, NOV 1, 2022 - ONSCREEN, addressing the growing problem of social isolation and loneliness in older adults using

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