Designing Technology for Older Adults: Augmenting Usefulness and Usability via Cognitive Support

Christopher B. Mayhorn, Wendy Rogers, Katharina V. Echt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Revisiting the plight of Roger Simpson, a retired firefighter in the opening vignette, this review of the pertinent cognitive aging and human factors literature demonstrates that it is vital for technology designers that target older adult users to consider the complex interaction between attitudes regarding usefulness, system usability, and cognitive abilities as well as limitations. While discussing a variety of technologies, it is apparent that the key to successfully creating technologies that older adults like Mr. Simpson want to use lies in the provision of environmental and cognitive support. Design choices that consider and adequately compensate for Mr. Simpson’s functional limitations should promote usability, but this can be determined only with evaluation. This holistic approach to augmenting older adults’ capabilities can also be applied to technologies that are or will soon be readily available to users of all ages and consider the ultimate realization of automated technology robotics.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGerontechnology
Subtitle of host publicationResearch, Practice, and Principles in the Field of Technology and Aging
EditorsSunkyo Kwon
PublisherSpringer Publishing Company
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-8261-2889-8
ISBN (Print)978-0-8261-2888-1
StatePublished - Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


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