Effects of extended use of an age-friendly computer system on assessments of computer proficiency, attitudes, and usability by older non-computer users

Joseph Sharit, Jerad H. Moxley, Walter R. Boot, Neil Charness, Wendy A. Rogers, Sara J. Czaja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study examined the impact of use of a computer software application designed specifically for older people known as PRISM-a Personal Reminder Information and Social Management system-which was installed on a computer that was placed in the homes of adults aged 65 to 98 years, who were at risk for social isolation and had minimal or no computer skills and no computers in their homes. Participants received face-to-face training on the system in their homes over several days and a variety of measures were collected at baseline and at 12 months. A growth mixture model applied to participants' usage of the system over the course of 12 months revealed two distinct subpopulations of users-less-frequent users and more-frequent users- who after one year of exposure to the system differed in computer proficiency, attitudes toward computers, and ratings of system usability. These two groups did not differ on computer proficiency and computer attitude measures at baseline. The more-frequent user group, however, had significantly higher fluid cognitive abilities. Additional analytical models were used to further examine the relationships among the study measures. The implications of the findings are discussed in terms of the importance of usability for promoting initial engagement with a system and that increased engagement with the system can instill beliefs in these older adults that they can successfully transition to other computer-based technologies and applications. The results also underscore the importance of the user-centered design approach and designing highly usable systems for older adults with low technology proficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbera9
JournalACM Transactions on Accessible Computing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2019



  • Age-friendly design
  • Computer attitudes
  • Computer proficiency
  • Older adults
  • Usability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications

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