Radicle blog / Notes on the paper, Understanding the Challenges and Opportunities of Smart Mobile Devices among the Oldest Old

“Understanding how smart technologies can promote greater independence in older adulthood is an important topic in human-computer interaction research, particularly among older segments of the population who stand the greatest risk for social isolation and have higher incident rates of chronic health conditions and associated disability.”

“Limited work has examined the user experience of or practical issues associated with older adults adopting, learning, and using smart mobile devices over time in a naturalistic context.”

“Older adults want to know the usefulness of a tool before learning it and need ongoing support for learning and usage, often depending on family members and friends for help with technology problems.”

“Blythe, Monk, & Doughty (2005) argue for socially dependable design, in which design for older adults must address challenges of making technology attractive, providing privacy, allowing for informed choice, reducing isolation, and maintaining accessibility.”

“Touchscreen interaction that accompanies smart mobile devices presents challenges for older people.”

“Older adults commonly confused the difference between SMS, iMessage, and e-mail but also experienced difficulty navigating the device to determine the location of a message they received.”

“Several older adults also described responding to text messages through a phone call due to not knowing how to reply to or initiate text messaging on smart mobile devices.”

“In general, older adults found enlarging the text size to be helpful, although some noted problems arising from this feature not working with all text-based elements (e.g., icon labels, keyboard, menus).”

Aside: Imagine a layered interaction design approach whereby the UI is made more or less ‘understandable.’

“One challenge in learning to use a device like a smartphone is in understanding that it is a platform for online communication.”

“Even amongst an affluent and well-educated cohort of older adults, adoption and sustained usage of smart mobile devices is challenging and requires ongoing support from others, particularly as late-life disability makes learning and maintaining technology increasingly difficult.”

—Raphael Schindler
26 Aug 2016