What are the benefits and barriers experienced by older adults who live alone when using smartphones regularly?
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Type of Work39 leaves
DepartmentUniversity of Baltimore. Division of Science, Information Arts and Technologies
ProgramUniversity of Baltimore. Master of Science in Interaction Design and Information Architecture
RightsThis item may be protected under Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. It is made available by the University of Baltimore for non-commercial research and educational purposes.
Digital technology is abundant in the world today; however, there are many people who do not use it comfortably. One main group that is sometimes uncomfortable with technology is older users, and this is particularly true of older people who live alone and have limited interaction with others. The goal of this project was to understand the experiences of older users who live alone when using technology on a daily basis, and to identify any barriers that may impact this group's usage, willingness, or motivation to understand and use technology. A diary study was conducted where ten participants answered daily questions through text message about their experiences using their smartphone for the duration of two weeks. The results showed that these older users knew the basic functionality of their smartphones; however, they felt pressure to learn more about their phones, mostly to avoid feeling like a burden to their families. Living alone places a unique burden on older adults because they felt that there was no immediate help available for their issues, leading to feelings of frustration and reduced motivation to continue trying to learn about smartphones.