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Re: Nielsen-Norman Studies on Children & Seniors

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Sat, 20 Apr 2002 11:49:29 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200204201049.g3KAnTh03025@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
The Australian URL gives "cannot connect to host", but..

> computer, so tend to work with older tech; they are frustrated by more 
> complex site designs; adding sound & animation tends to keep their attention.

This is one of the things that concerns me about the "learning difficulties"
lobby.  They go in for the "keeping their attention" things, but is the result
really that they can use the site any better for anything except entertainment
(possibly by the attention grabbing features).  (To a large extent, I think
that lobby is about providing entertainment to people who are not of 
interest to the commercial entertainment industry (don't spend with their
advertisers), rather than giving them better access in an information
society.)

One point from the alertbox was the high vulnerabilty of children to
advertising.  This is put across as a failure, but to the extent that
the sites are there for children, and those children have parents who
can afford things, it means that such sites could be the most successful
in their real business aims.

My impression from trying to teach elderly relatives basic computer use
is that the biggest killer is creative user interfaces.  They will try to
write down a 1 page summary of how to use the machine, but, if every site
has different user interface conventions (what I call "hunt the links",
and which is hinted at in the alertbox by the reference to mine sweeping),
you cannot construct a 1 page summary of how to use the weh, even though
you could do for simple HTML plus two or three higher level conventions.

Elderly (and I think that includes non-computer people of my age (49))
users will not mine sweep; they are too afraid of breaking things by
doing things that they don't clearly understand in advance.

I'm not so certain of one other point, but I think that many elderly users
would be put off by cartoons, etc. and treat the site as condescending to
them.
Received on Saturday, 20 April 2002 06:50:16 GMT

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