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Experienced issues with tablet computer interfaces among older adults: An exploratory study using a human centred interaction design approach
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Computer Science and Engineering.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Context: Older adults’ everyday usages of tablet computers in a home environment are currently left out from today’s research. Current researches include many specialized focuses regarding tablet computer interfaces but a holistic view of how older adults experience usage of tablet computers in their everyday life is still to a large extent missing.

Objectives: The aim of this study is to apply a use- and user-centred action research approach to explore how older adults experience the usage of tablet computers in their everyday life. Older adults are observed using tablet computers in their home environment in order to explore experienced issues and identify possible improvements for the older adults’ interaction and use of tablet computers.

Methods: This study is a qualitative explorative case study using a grounded theory approach. The study consists a two week observation period beginning with an introduction and tutorial to tablet computers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted directly before and after as well as a long term follow up interview, few months after the observation period. The research body with the first two interviews and observation period was conducted using grounded theory iteration, allowing for analysis between each participant. The study involved 10 older adults and took place in the older adults’ natural everyday home environment and targeted older adults born 1960 or earlier.

Results: The study used different ways to introduce tablet computers to the older adults, individually adjusted to their knowledge about information communication technology in general and tablet computers in particular as well as for them familiar subjects. Associations using their familiar subjects were used to help the older adults to remember the functionality of different icons. Some of the interaction issues encountered could be solved on the spot using accessibility options and accessories. The participants’ interest in tablet computers increased during the main body of the study, but later decreased again between the last two interviews.

Conclusions: Many interaction issues were identified during the study where the main issues were related to accuracy, typing, gesture and terminology. Suggestions are made concerning how to solve some of the issues encountered, like a dynamic grid for icons and text on the tablet computer home screen and an ergonomic version of a touchscreen pen. Although there are interaction issues that are directly related to the interface, there are other important aspects too that affect the experienced interaction issues when interacting with and using a tablet computer in one’s everyday life home environment. Influencers affecting how older adults feel about tablet computers played a very important role. Having the observer functioning as a technical mentor, during the two week observation period, played a bigger role than expected, but the short time the older adults had with the mentor was not enough to keep them interested on a long term basis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 67 p.
Keyword [en]
Human Computer Interaction, Tablet Computer, Older adults, Home environment
National Category
Computer Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-10985OAI: diva2:872166
Subject / course
DV2566 Master's Thesis (120 credits) in Computer Science
Educational program
DVAST Master of Science Programme in Design, Interaction and Game Technologies
2015-09-21, H445A Grace Hopper, Campus Gräsvik: Valhallavägen 1, Karlskrona, 16:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2015-11-18 Created: 2015-11-17 Last updated: 2015-11-18Bibliographically approved

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Persson, Linnéa
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