Making technology more friendly

I’m always surprised at how little press usability issues get. This article on Marketwatch discusses how technology companies seem to be ignoring the aging population’s needs. The emphasis is obviously on sales and the impact on revenues, but the part about Intel’s use of social anthropologists really caught my attention (page 2):

They told the researchers they didn’t mind a wireless home or a digital entertainment system, said Robert Manetta, a spokesman at Intel, but that what they really wanted was to use technology “to check in on my mother in Denver (because) helping my mother out is a bigger priority.”

Now Intel is studying the ways emerging sensor technology might be used to help Alzheimer’s patients stay home without a caregiver.

I find it fascinating the usability issues seem to lead to health care issues. I always remind myself that technology is a tool for us to do something, and that we are not slaves to new features and products (Neil Postman talks about this in his book Technopoly).

Here’s the link to the article on Marketwatch:
Retirement Living: Are gadget makers shortsighted to ignore older buyers?