School of Communication and the Arts


Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design (MFA)


David Wayne Meyer


Usability, Accessibility, Elderly, Web Design, Interface, User Experience


Art and Design | Fine Arts


Geoffrey Chaucer wrote, “Time and tide wait for no man.” He was correct. Aging is universal. It affects all humans in positive and negative ways. From children becoming teens to adults becoming senior adults, each stage of life brings changes and challenges. In one’s forties, menus can become harder to read, hair can fall out, hearing in loud environments can become difficult. Then, in one’s mid-sixties, more difficult challenges can arrive. Health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, lung disease can become a regular part of one’s life. Cognition slowness, vision and hearing loss can create difficulties not only in interacting in social settings, but also managing one’s life online. Technology develops and expands constantly. Professor Peter-Paul Verbeek, distinguished Professor of Philosophy of Technology at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Twente, examined how technology, in its purest form, should be a form of mediation for its users. Technology should not be the focus, it should be the median by which you relate to the world around you. “The central idea in mediation theory is that technologies do not simply create connections between users and their environment, but that they actively help to constitute them” (Verbeek). Technology influences the way the user sees the world around them. When made usable, technology can present large positives in an individual’s life. Technology can allow a viewer who is quarantined at home the opportunity to explore a new country. Technology can also bring shopping and banking to your fingertips. It can give the immobile user the freedom to be self-reliant. Medicine, food, and cleaning needs can all be purchased using many different technologies. A user can refill medications using a finger on a smart phone, smart watch, tablet, or computer. Or they can simply use their voice on technologies like Alexa, Echo, and Siri. Technology makes these possibilities endless. But for technology to do all these wonderful things, it needs to be designed and developed in a way that does not leave certain users behind. There must be a standard that designers follow to keep technology, specifically websites, usable and accessible to all. User inclusivity is the most important component that technology needs to focus upon, and where it is falling the most behind. If the user cannot see the words on the screen, hear a video on a site, or understand how to navigate through pages, then technology and all the wonderful things it can do are useless.