Blog #3

Brian O’Leary

Dr. Coppola

March 20th, 2017

Blog # 3

            So far only a little more research has happened since the last time a blog post was written. The only field research that has been able to be conducted since the Winter break has been on how the elderly use the mobile application Apple News. This is due to the fact that the researchers had to get seniors to do research with at senior centers. The most common observation of seniors using Apple News is that this application is too difficult for the elderly to use. This is due to how it represents itself, the app opens up to a screen exploding with many different news articles. Which is not bad design by the app, though other functions of the app make this not as wonderful. The seniors were able to click on each article they wanted to read in order to learn more information about an event. The problem occurred when they realized they did not know how to get back to the original screen. This trapped some seniors to only be able to read one article. On a side note other seniors also explored the applications tabs on the bottom of the screens and got lost and were not able to get back to the main page with the news articles.

            A simple solution to a problem like this would be to just make the application much simpler. All that would be required of you would be to remove all of the extra functions which may seem important. Perhaps this new version of the app’s only purpose was to provide the news with no special features. This would mean that you could just simply have an article on the page and the user could swipe left or right to the next article and scroll up or down to read the rest of the article. This would follow the golden rule of being simple which allows for a more optimized user interface for senior citizens.

When conducting this research the hardest challenge that has been experienced with doing this research is finding a senior citizen to do research with. This requires the cooperation of a senior center as well as the senior citizen. Then setting up meeting with a senior can take time as well, but once that is all completed conducting the research itself is rather simple. All that is required is for the researcher to observe how the senior citizen reacts to the mobile application, as well as how they use the application. A researcher is able to determine rather quickly if the application is properly optimized for the senior citizen. If it is not then the researcher is able to observe more details of how the senior citizen is using the application and ask them questions to find the reasons for their dissatisfaction with the application. Though this is also done even if the senior citizen likes the application because it will tell the researcher what the mobile application did right.

After doing this research my biggest take away from what I have done would be that more research is always better. The more data that I collect means that I will be able to come to conclusions and to formulate a hypothesis that I am able to back up with research. For example, one of the things that I have realized from all this research that I have been doing is that simplicity is the key for designing mobile applications. It’s also the number one solution to designing a mobile application for the elderly and I have a lot of research that I can use to back this up. Without learning how to collect large amounts of observations I would not know how to go about defending an argument. Therefore I have learned a lot from conducting this research.

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