Smartphones for Seniors
Europe is ageing, because life expectancy is higher and birth rate is decreasing dramatically. In 2060, it is estimated that the number of seniors (aged over 65 years) will reach 30% in the European Union and about 32% in Portugal. Nowadays, the senior population lives surrounded by technology, internet and social networking but most of it is not adapted to their needs and interests. The senior population is also getting different from a decade ago: it has more education, it has been surrounded by technology, and a lot of them are still active and sometimes still working.
Therefore, it is urgent to adapt existent technology and make it seamless, easy to use and make it mobile, in alignment with an active ageing lifestyle, in order to increase seniors’ independence and quality of life. Another problem associated with aging is the need for health care in a more frequent and usual way. The technology must therefore adapt itself to the idiosyncrasies of this age group, including the seniors day-to-day life in an integrated, friendly and not invasive manner.
Smartphones for Seniors (S4S), is a Portuguese collaborative R&D project coordinated by Microsoft, which aims to provide more adapted technology to the senior population in mobile scenarios, by customizing the user interfaces of the basic functions of a Windows Phone 7 smartphone. It also includes the redesign of more advanced tools such as video calling and communication with social media in order to allow remote interaction with users of social networks, as well as synchronous or asynchronous conversation, covering also audiovisual communication.