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Designing User Interfaces for an Aging Population - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128044674, 9780128045121

Designing User Interfaces for an Aging Population

1st Edition

Towards Universal Design

Authors: Jeff Johnson Kate Finn
Paperback ISBN: 9780128044674
eBook ISBN: 9780128045121
Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann
Published Date: 16th February 2017
Page Count: 258
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Designing User Interfaces for an Aging Population: Towards Universal Design presents age-friendly design guidelines that are well-established, agreed-upon, research-based, actionable, and applicable across a variety of modern technology platforms.

The book offers guidance for product engineers, designers, or students who want to produce technological products and online services that can be easily and successfully used by older adults and other populations.

It presents typical age-related characteristics, addressing vision and visual design, hand-eye coordination and ergonomics, hearing and sound, speech and comprehension, navigation, focus, cognition, attention, learning, memory, content and writing, attitude and affect, and general accessibility.

The authors explore characteristics of aging via realistic personas which demonstrate the impact of design decisions on actual users over age 55.

Key Features

  • Presents the characteristics of older adults that can hinder use of technology
  • Provides guidelines for designing technology that can be used by older adults and younger people
  • Review real-world examples of designs that implement the guidelines and the designs that violate them


Developers, product designers, usability professionals, students in related disciplines or psychology

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction

  • What Does “An Aging World” Mean?
  • Why Should the Aging of the World’s Population Matter to Designers?
  • Do We Really Need Yet Another Set of Design Guidelines for Yet Another Subgroup?
  • Moving Forward
  • Organization of Book
  • Note

Chapter 2. Meet Some Older Adults

  • Who Are We Talking About?
  • The Naming of Things Is a Difficult Matter
  • Sometimes, Age Really Is Just a Number
  • Characteristics of Some Older Adults
  • Personas for This Book

Chapter 3. Vision

  • Characteristics of Vision in Older Adults
  • Design Guidelines That Help Older Adults (and Others!)

Chapter 4. Motor Control

  • Motor Control in Older Adults
  • Design Guidelines That Help Older Adults (and Others!)

Chapter 5. Hearing and Speech

  • Age-Related Changes in Hearing
  • Age-Related Changes in Speech
  • Design Guidelines That Help Older Adults (and Others!)

Chapter 6. Cognition

  • Cognition in Older Adults
  • Design Guidelines That Help Older Adults (and Others!)

Chapter 7. Knowledge

  • Digital Technology Knowledge Gap in Older Adults
  • Design Guidelines That Help Older Adults (and Others!)

Chapter 8. Search

  • Age-Related Differences in Keyword Search
  • Design Guidelines That Help Older Adults (and Others!)

Chapter 9. Attitude

  • Older Adults’ Attitudes Toward Technology Usage
  • Design Guidelines That Help Older Adults (and Others!)

Chapter 10. Working With Older Adults

  • Older Adults as Participants in Design and Evaluation
  • Guidelines for Working With Older Adults

Chapter 11. Case Studies

  • Overview
  • eCAALYX TV User Interface
  • Smart Companion to GoLivePhone
  • ASSISTANT, a Support Tool for Elders Using Public Transportation
  • Subaru Auto Infotainment System
  • Virtual Third-Age Simulator for Web Accessibility

Chapter 12. Summary and Conclusions

  • Combinations of Age Differences
  • Parting Words


No. of pages:
© Morgan Kaufmann 2017
16th February 2017
Morgan Kaufmann
Paperback ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Authors

Jeff Johnson

Jeff Johnson

Jeff Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of San Francisco. He is also a principal at Wiser Usability, a consultancy focused on elder usability. After earning B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale and Stanford, he worked as a UI designer, implementer, manager, usability tester, and researcher at Cromemco, Xerox, US West, Hewlett-Packard, and Sun. He has taught at Stanford, Mills, and the University of Canterbury. He is a member of the ACM SIGCHI Academy and a recipient of SIGCHI's Lifetime Achievement in Practice Award. He has authored articles on a variety of topics in HCI, as well as the books GUI Bloopers (1st and 2nd eds.), Web Bloopers, Designing with the Mind in Mind (1st and 2nd eds.), Conceptual Models: Core to Good Design (with Austin Henderson), and Designing User Interfaces for an Aging Population (with Kate Finn).

Affiliations and Expertise

President and Principal Consultant, UI Wizards, Inc.

Kate Finn

Kate Finn has worked on user interfaces and usability since 1983. After obtaining her Ph.D. in Computational Linguistics from Georgetown University, she conducted research on natural language understanding systems and automated speech recognition. She was at SRI International for 6 years, where she designed and developed prototypes of graphical user interfaces for sophisticated intelligence systems. Since SRI, she has worked as an independent usability consultant, primarily on websites. She organized several workshops on Video-Mediated Communication, and was the lead editor on the book Video-Mediated Communication. She obtained a Certificate in Gerontology to better understand the unique capabilities and needs of older users. Currently Kate is co-founder and CEO of Wiser Usability, Inc. ( She also blogs about design, aging, and technology at

Affiliations and Expertise

Co-founder and CEO, Wiser Usability, Inc.


"In the past decade research on the different needs of older users and the ways that user interfaces can be designed to suit older people has expanded considerably. Johnson and Finn have gathered this research to create a valuable and readable guide towards the art of designing for older people." –Dan Hawthorne, UNITEC Institute of Technology, information Systems and Computing Department (New Zealand)

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