An exploration of design strategies and methods in the development of digital interactive television for older people

  • Mark David Rice

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Amongst a changing digital landscape, the proliferation and diversification of technology in the home has meant many underlying principles taken from the workplace now require new perspectives, in order to accommodate for the private and discursive practices associated with domestic living. This represents significant issues in the elicitation of reliable and appropriate feedback from older adults, who have not grown up with the same familiarity and understanding of present day user interfaces as younger generations. More specifically, not only in terms of the development of ill-defined technologies (and their potential functions) more suitable to this age group, but also those people who lack the experience and prior knowledge to easily identify, understand or discuss the potential uses of new systems. This thesis contributes to the challenges of embracing reluctant and inexperience older people within the development of new and emerging domestic technologies, in order that applications are more appropriately designed for this widely diverse and heterogeneous user group. Focusing on the digital interactive television (DITV) platform, five interrelated studies are presented within requirements gathering and early evaluation phases. As a starting point, identifying the
    constraints of traditional interviews and focus groups, the research explores a series of methods and techniques that aim to bridge disparities in conceptual thinking, by allowing older users to understand the potential utility of digital technology. In using visually creative ways to articulate and self generate ideas, these solutions are first proposed through the use of Forum Theatre, and later refined through a small set of paper prototyping sessions. As an outcome of
    early research findings, a more sustained series of hi-fidelity prototypes were developed to investigate more meaningful navigation approaches in support of social application areas. The results illustrate important limitations in observing and evaluating user behaviour, in an attempt to identify the potential for more tangible interactive concepts based on the theme of continuity. Drawing from conclusions, in having successfully demonstrated strengths in the methods applied, this thesis argues further research is required to establish a holistic framework in working with older adults. A number of key areas for future research have been identified, including the possibilities for building on the interface concepts developed using alternative state of the art devices.
    Date of Award2009
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorAlan Newell (Supervisor)

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