MISC Talk: Robin Brewer

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 11:30am to 1:00pm

Ehrlicher Room, 3100 North Quad

The Michigan Interactive and Social Computing research group connects researchers studying human-computer interaction, social computing, and computer-supported cooperative work across the University of Michigan.

Understanding and Designing for Late-Life Online Engagement


The older adult population will grow exponentially in the coming years with more baby boomers reaching retirement age. Yet, our online communities are not well supported for engaging them online. Older adults with internet access struggle to see the value of engaging online. Also, research has shown how seniors who are offline face many barriers to internet use including high cost of internet-enabled devices, lack of access in their homes, and navigating complex interfaces that are difficult to learn. Despite these barriers, prior work has shown how there are social, financial, and health benefits to engaging online, specifically for older adults. In my work, I primarily use qualitative methods (e.g. interviews, observations) combined with quantitative methods (e.g. surveys) and software development to understand people and technology. In this talk, I present my research investigating how to create more accessible online communities for seniors with vision impairments to engage in self-expression and connection, and discuss the implications for future technology development.

Speaker Bio: Robin Brewer does research at the intersection of social computing and accessibility. As a faculty member and Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in University of Michigan's School of Information (UMSI), she investigates how to create more meaningful and accessible online communities and voice-based interfaces. Her dissertation work focused on developing voice-based systems for older adults with vision impairments. Also, Robin Brewer has studied how crowd work platforms can be more meaningful to novice workers such as older adults.