Friday, May 02, 2008

Microsoft developing 'senior PC'

Microsoft working on Senior PC ...

"Microsoft UK is developing a "senior PC", which will have a simple interface and be aimed at older users.

The PC will come with software that allows users to manage prescriptions as well as simplified tools for everyday use, such as managing photos.

The machine, which it is developing in partnership with charities Age Concern and Help the Aged, is one of several projects the firm is working on.

The plans were unveiled at a Digital Inclusion conference in London.

Social software

In the UK alone, some 17 million citizens are described as "digitally excluded".

In the United States, Microsoft already offers a number of so-called senior PCs, in conjunction with HP computers. It is not clear if the UK project is identical to the one in the US.

Other projects Microsoft is working on include an ad-funded PC and one that uses what it describes as a "social software licensing model".

In partnership with Milton Keynes council, this machine will come preloaded with a "digital literacy curriculum" - a step by step guide to how to get online, be safe and perform simple computer tasks.

Initially it will be given to a thousand households and this will be gradually scaled up to 10,000.

Speaking at the National Digital Inclusion Conference in London, Microsoft's head of skills and economic affairs Stephen Uden laid out the firm's vision for closing the digital divide.

"Reaching most of the final third will mean that we have to throw out the rule book. We will only solve these issues by taking risks and trying new things," he said.

"Some of the projects we are working on will work. Others will fail," he said.

No further details were available on the senior PC at this stage although it will be ready within a year, said Mr Uden.

Mobile phones

He also said that the problem will not be solved by PC access alone.

"We have to get away form the idea that everyone is going to get a PC. It is simply not easy enough to use or cheap enough for everyone."    (Continued via BBC NEWS)    [Usability Resources]

Senior User - Usability, User Interface Design

Senior User

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