Problem

While there are many barriers to internet use for older adults with vision impairments (65+), there are also many benefits. Specifically, blogging provides a sense of community, empowerment, and means of self-disclosure for populations who may feel isolated. While computers can be difficult to use and access, prior work shows that phones are preferred and used most often by seniors. How can complex online interfaces be simplified using accessible offline devices?

Solution

In this project I explore how a low-cost, familiar, accessible system should be designed to support older adults with vision impairments in engaging online. I am designing a voice-based blogging system that embeds blogging capabilities into traditional phones (landline and non-smart cell phones).

Development Process

Robin interviewed 20 older adults bloggers to understand the role of blogging and online engagement within the context of blogs.

She then conducted a diary study with older adults with vision impairments, giving them accessible voice recorders for two weeks, to understand how they would record and edit audio blog posts and the topics they would want to discuss.

Both the interview and diary study results are being used to design and develop the system which allows seniors to interact with their Tumblr blog by phone and others to interact with a blog on a computer or internet-enabled device.

The voice-based blogging system is being developed and will soon be given to older adults with vision impairments to use for 8-10 weeks.