Skip to main content

Über dieses Buch

This book promotes a critical reflection about the research conducted so far in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) with older people, whose predominant perspective focuses on decline, health, and help. It introduces a new (or different) perspective, which is grounded in interdisciplinary research on older people and digital technologies.

Key elements are to (i) address topics that include, but also go beyond decline, health, and help, such as leisure, fun, creativity and culture, to delve more deeply into the role of digital technologies in multiple facets of older people’s lives; (ii) focus on doing research and designing technologies with and for older adults, and their communities, to avoid and fight against negative social conceptions of ageing; and (iii) examine older people’s life course, strengths, interests, and values, as well as their limitations and needs, to design technologies that not only help but also empower them, extending their abilities and acquiring new knowledge, beyond technology use. This perspective aims to help us better understand, design, and evaluate older people’s interactions with digital technologies in the early 21st century.





Chapter 1. Editorial Introduction—Perspectives on HCI Research with Older People

This book promotes a critical reflection about the research conducted within Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) with older people thus far, whose predominant perspective [Perspective is defined here as “the assumptions about a phenomenon being studied or designed for, the lenses used to analyze it and the questions asked” (Rogers in HCI theory: classical, modern, and contemporary. Morgan & Claypool, USA, p. 4, 2012)] focuses on health, help, and age-related decline in functional abilities. This book introduces a new (or different) perspective, which is grounded in interdisciplinary research on older people and digital technologies. Key elements are to (i) address topics that include, but also go beyond decline, health, and help, such as leisure, fun and culture, to delve more deeply into the role of digital technologies in multiple facets of older people’s lives; (ii) focus on doing research and designing technologies with and for older adults, and their communities, to avoid and fight against negative social conceptions of ageing; (iii) examine older people’s life course, strengths, interests, and values, as well as their limitations and needs, to design technologies that not only help but also empower them over time. This perspective aims to help us better understand, design, and evaluate older people’s interactions with digital technologies in the early 21st century.
Sergio Sayago



Chapter 2. Creating Technologies with People Who have Dementia

As the numbers of people living with dementia continue to rise, technology is becoming increasingly important. This is partly because current services, which tend to focus on healthcare, lack both capacity and treatments to respond to the growing need. Additionally, most people with dementia across the world live at home, requiring practical, affordable and scalable solutions at a societal level. In the short to medium term this could be achieved through harnessing and exploiting existing devices and functionality to support people who have dementia and their families. In the longer term, emerging innovations that directly address the complex interactions of cognitive function and behaviour should produce tailored or personalised solutions for people with dementia. This chapter argues that we need to shift from the medical approach focused on symptoms to an approach based on empowerment through the sensitive and appropriate use of technology. Specifically, this chapter looks at the current context in which dementia is understood, identifies factors that must be taken into account in reconceptualising dementia, and proposes a cognitive-behavioural approach for thinking about the activities people with dementia want assistance with.
Arlene J. Astell

Chapter 3. The Role of Designers in the Development and Communication of New Technology

People who experience a loss of physical abilities due to an ageing body are still capable of using, learning, and interacting with information and communications technology (ICT) and being part of the digitalization of society. The following chapter will enlighten the role of design for facilitating the support of and interest in using various kinds of technology. Design and communication are in many ways effected by stereotypical attitudes towards an older target group. In addition, the attitudes often lack conscious awareness among designers of ICT. However, they affect the user´s experience of the technology and the self-image in relation to technology usage. It might not be age that hinders people from taking part in and using new technology. How technology is designed, communicated, and marketed play an important role too. Therefore, we recommend more awareness and responsibility among designers.
Yvonne Eriksson, Marie Sjölinder



Chapter 4. Smartphone Usage Diversity among Older People

Older people are a minority in digital media, in terms of both access and use. While the divide in access has decreased, this is not the case with the divide in use. In this chapter, we go deeper into the divide in use, by studying the diversity of smartphone usage among older people. We have used three complementary perspectives: tracked use, reported use, and reflections on use. According to our study, between 2014 and 2016 the divide in smartphone use increased between younger individuals and older people. Moreover, older smartphone users in Spain are a diverse user group, which includes basic, proficient and advanced users. Proficient users are the most common group. Basic users are often new users with little experience of digital technologies who usually achieve their communication goals by other means. We used a triangulation of qualitative and quantitative methods. This approach allowed us to show the limited and at the same time diverse use of smartphones by older people. These results question the stereotypes that only associate older people with a limited use of digital technologies. They also help to raise awareness of the importance of taking the particular characteristics of older proficient smartphone users into account in the design of intelligent systems, in order to fight structural ageism.
Andrea Rosales, Mireia Fernández-Ardèvol

Chapter 5. Seniors and Self-tracking Technology

Technology designed to support self-tracking has grown in numbers and popularity as smartphones have become more powerful and more ubiquitous. However, these tools are not being used by the population that self-tracks the most: older adults. This chapter discusses the use and non-use of self-tracking technologies among seniors based on a review of literature published in HCI and Health Informatics. Known barriers to seniors’ adoption of self-tracking technologies largely result from a primary focus on younger users. Seniors’ needs, interests, goals, and self-tracking practices differ from what is assumed and addressed in the tools that are currently available. To address this issue, it is necessary for future work to investigate new designs that are more compatible with seniors’ priorities and self-tracking practices without diminishing seniors’ sense of agency or emphasizing stigmatized aspects of health or aging.
Clara Caldeira, Yunan Chen

Chapter 6. Designing Mid-Air Gesture Interaction with Mobile Devices for Older Adults

This chapter presents a user-centered perspective on the design of effective mid-air gesture interaction with mobile technology for seniors. Starting from the basic characteristics of mid-air gesture interaction, we introduce the main design challenges of this interaction and report on a case study in which we implemented a user-centered design process focused on the engagement of older adults in each design stage. We present a series of studies in which we aimed at involving older users as active creators of the interaction, taking into account their feedback and values in the design process. Finally, we propose a set of recommendations for the design of mid-air gesture interaction for older adults. These recommendations are elaborated combining research on HCI, ageing and ergonomic principles, and the results from the user studies we conducted in the process.
Michela Ferron, Nadia Mana, Ornella Mich

Chapter 7. The Social Interaction Experiences of Older People in a 3D Virtual Environment

Virtual worlds offer much potential in supporting social interaction for older adults, particularly as a platform which can provide an interactive and immersive social experience. Yet, there has not been much work carried out to study the use, interaction and behavior of older people in 3D virtual world systems, especially studies which investigate their interactions in a fully functional virtual world. Most focus on issues related to usability such as cognitive difficulties when navigation in a 3D space and we know little about their perceptions and preferences when socializing in a virtual space. In this chapter, we report an experimental study examining the various factors which affected the social experience of older users in virtual worlds. The study involved 38 older participants engaging with a 3D and non-3D virtual grocery store. A mixed method of questionnaire and contextual interview was used for data collection and analysis. Overall, we found that physical presence was a significant predictor of many measures defining the quality of social interaction, yet participants often reported a sense of artificiality in their virtual experience. Interestingly, avatars were not considered directly important for social interaction and instead were only seen as a “place holder” to complete the tasks. Two factors contributed to this, the lack of non-verbal communication and the perceived difficulty in embodying physical people with virtual avatars.
Panote Siriaraya, Chee Siang Ang

Chapter 8. Web-Based Embodied Conversational Agents and Older People

Within Human-Computer Interaction, there has recently been an important turn to embodied and voice-based interaction. In this chapter, we discuss our ongoing research on building online Embodied Conversational Agents (ECAs), specifically, their interactive 3D web graphics aspects. We present ECAs based on our technological pipeline, which integrates a number of free online editors, such as Adobe Fuse CC or MakeHuman, and standards, mainly BML (Behaviour Markup Language). We claim that making embodiment available for online ECAs is attainable, and advantageous over current alternatives, mostly desktop-based. In this chapter we also report on initial results of activities aimed to explore the physical appearance of ECAs for older people. A group of them (N = 14) designed female ECAs. Designing them was easy and great fun. The perspective on older-adult HCI introduced in this chapter is mostly technological, allowing for rapid online experimentations to address key issues, such as anthropomorphic aspects, in the design of ECAs with, and for, older people.
Gerard Llorach, Javi Agenjo, Josep Blat, Sergio Sayago

Technology Use


Chapter 9. Online Leisure and Wellbeing in Later Life

Research has shown that Internet use contributes to subjective wellbeing (SWB) in later life, emphasizing the significance of online leisure. Seeking new directions in human-computer interaction (HCI) research among older people, this chapter suggests three pathways towards a better understanding of the roles online leisure plays in older adults’ SWB: Simultaneous exploration of various online leisure activities, concurrent examination of both online and offline leisure activities; and differentiation among discrete subsegments of older Internet users. To demonstrate the effectiveness of these three paths, we examine data collected in an online survey of media use among 814 Israeli Internet users aged 60 years and over. Results indicate that there are six factors of media-based leisure activities, two of which associate positively with users’ life satisfaction (online updates and offline content) and one negatively (offline radio). Analysis also identifies three groups of Internet users, based on the activities they engage in: Onliners, Offliners and Lighter Users. Despite differences in leisure involvement, these groups report similar life satisfaction. The groups’ background characteristics reflect a balancing mechanism wherein participation in certain online and offline activities compensates for distressing conditions to some extent.
Vera Gallistl, Galit Nimrod

Chapter 10. Designing for the Informatics Lifecourse and Ageing in Place

This chapter integrates and builds on these two recent strands of HCI research focused on designing for and with older adults: (1) Examining how ageing members of particular communities appropriate technology and (2) Examining how technology practices of ageing adults evolve over time based on their diverse life experiences. Ethnographic fieldwork conducted during one year working with older adults learning technology in senior centres and public libraries found that knitting together these two topics required a new concept: the informatics lifecourse. This concept refers to how a person learns technology throughout the stages of his or her life as he or she ages in place. To understand how to design for the informatics lifecourse, this chapter focuses on three dimensions that shape how communities of older adults appropriate and use technology over time: (1) historically shaped subcommunities, (2) the availability of technology support within those communities, and (3) ageism. A conclusion suggests additional research needed to understand how to design technological infrastructures to support ageing in place.
Noah Lenstra

Chapter 11. Older Adults as Internet Content Producers: Motivations for Blogging in Later Life

It is important to promote the use of Internet among older adults as it could help prevent isolation in later life and facilitates personal growth. However, older adults are usually depicted as mere consumers of Internet content rather than producers. This chapter presents data from a study on the motivations that lead older adults to write a blog. A thematic analysis of motivation was conducted via semi-structured interviews of 16 older Spanish adults who were at least 60 years old and had an active blog at the time of the study. The main motivations found in older adults were self-focused and external. The results are compared with data from previous research, and ways are suggested to give voice to older adults through the information and communication technologies.
Montserrat Celdrán, Rodrigo Serrat, Feliciano Villar

Chapter 12. Older People Positive, Active and Creative ICT Use: A Study in Three Countries

Within Human-Computer Interaction, older people (60+) are often characterized as a heterogeneous group of consumers of digital content that use ICTs in a limited way due to age-related changes in functional abilities. By drawing on an ethnographical study of ICTs use by approximately 220 older people over a 5-year period in Spain and on two rapid ethnographical studies, in Denmark and Brazil, with around 180 older people, this chapter presents an alternative view of ICTs use by older people. We argue that characterizing older people as a heterogeneous group of consumers of digital content with a set of weaknesses/limitations is not enough to understand their relationship with ICTs. This study portrays older people as creative, active and with a positive relationship with ICTs. In addition to their interest in accessing information online, the results show older people as active digital content creators. The study in Spain reveals older people as active, creative makers of digital videos with contemporary technologies. This chapter focuses on older people access, creation, and sharing of digital content, discussing their similarities and showing an active and positive use of technology. The results indicate that older people ICTs use is not so heterogeneous as one might think. The use of ICTs for communication, the concern with privacy and the interest for multimedia content stood out among the participants in the different settings.
Susan M. Ferreira, Sergio Sayago, Josep Blat

Chapter 13. Designing Computer-Supported Technology to Mediate Intergenerational Social Interaction: A Cultural Perspective

This chapter builds upon the need to adopt a more comprehensive approach when designing computer-supported technology to mediate social interaction between older adults and other generations of family members. Recognizing the complexity and heterogeneity of this communication scenario, the chapter shows the need to consider the culture as a key factor for reusing HCI design knowledge when conceiving new technology to mediate intergenerational social interactions. Considering a cultural perspective, this chapter discusses similarities and differences in the intergenerational social interaction process in Latin American and Western countries. On the one hand, the identified similitudes help reuse existing design knowledge. On the other hand, the identified differences inform the design of new solutions to mediate intergenerational communication. Understanding the underlying socio-cultural traits of the social inter-action scenario allows us to determine how to reuse the knowledge gained during the previous two decades of HCI research with older adults, and thus design better interaction mechanisms for the next generation of systems for this application domain.
Francisco J. Gutierrez, Sergio F. Ochoa, Raymundo Cornejo, Julita Vassileva

Research Methods and Programming Acceptance


Chapter 14. Why and How Think-Alouds with Older Adults Fail: Recommendations from a Study and Expert Interviews

We compared three common usability testing methods—Concurrent Think-Aloud, Retrospective Think-Aloud and Co-discovery—with frail older adults. We found that Co-discovery is the most effective method for this group. Additionally, we interviewed Human-Computer Interaction experts who work with older adults. These experts discussed, for instance, the importance of leveraging usability tests to enhance participant motivation to engage with technology. We consolidated our findings from the usability studies with older adults and from interviews with experts to create a set of recommendations for performing usability tests with frail older adults. One of the core recommendations is to enhance participants’ sense of autonomy and self-confidence during usability tests.
Rachel L. Franz, Barbara Barbosa Neves, Carrie Demmans Epp, Ronald Baecker, Jacob O. Wobbrock

Chapter 15. Working Towards Fostering Programming Acceptance in the Everyday Lives of Older and Adult People with Low Levels of Formal Education: A Qualitative Case Study

With the ever-increasing development of digital technologies, understanding their acceptance or rejection is important. A great deal of research, led by the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), shows that technology acceptance is a hot and complex topic. Much of it has been quantitative and operationalized within mandatory—workplace/organizational—contexts, where instrumental aspects of technology use (e.g., efficiency and productivity) play a central role. In this chapter, we report on a qualitative case study—based on 3 in-person learning courses—of factors that can help us foster programming acceptance in the everyday lives of older and adult people with low levels of formal education. We discuss the relative relevance of technology acceptance constructs, showing that perceived ease-of-use is much less relevant than perceived usefulness, because all participants had to find the fit of programming in their lives. We show that two social aspects—the figure of the course instructor and the group—were key to introduce programming and encourage decision-making. We also discuss some methodological issues, such as the difficulties in asking validated items of TAM (e.g. “I have the knowledge necessary to use the system”) to our participants.
Sergio Sayago, Angel Bergantiños, Paula Forbes

Conclusion and Future Perspectives


Chapter 16. Editorial Conclusion—Where Do We Go from Here?

To wrap up this book, I recap its two main objectives and present a succinct summary of the key findings. One of the objectives of this book was to promote a critical reflection about the research conducted in HCI with older people thus far. This book does not intend to provide a full, comprehensive and systematic review of the field.
Sergio Sayago
Weitere Informationen