Understanding predictors of computer communication technology use by older adults

John S. Burnett, Tracy L. Mitzner, Neil Charness, Wendy A. Rogers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Technologies have evolved to allow older adults the ability to communicate in a variety of ways, yet little work examines the perceptions that older adults have of these technologies. Our research explored older adults' use of computers for communication activities. We analyzed questionnaire data from two hundred and eighty-one participants with computer experience who answered questions about their background; the amount of experience they had with computers and other technologies, their perception of the importance of several communication activities for their quality of life, and how useful a computer is for those activities. A regression analysis explored the degree to which demographic variables, the importance of activities for their quality of life, and prior experience predicted respondents' attitudes about the computer's usefulness for communication activities. The findings, based on a group of older adult computer users, suggest that the importance of communication activities for an older adult's quality of life and their prior experience with computers are strong predictors of the perception of a computer's usefulness for communication activities. Previous research has found that one's experiences with a computer system are critical for adoption. Our work reaffirms that tenet, yet finds that the degree to which an activity is important for one's quality of life is also predictive of how useful a computer will be for that activity. Our findings also suggest that certain communication activities, such as email, are more preferred than other activities, such as chat groups. This present survey of experienced older adult computer users can guide development of training materials and products for older adults by informing designers of the ways by which older adults form perceptions about the usefulness of technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 55th Annual Meeting, HFES 2011
Pages172-176
Number of pages5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 28 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event55th Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, HFES 2011 - Las Vegas, NV, United States
Duration: Sep 19 2011Sep 23 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
ISSN (Print)1071-1813

Other

Other55th Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, HFES 2011
CountryUnited States
CityLas Vegas, NV
Period9/19/119/23/11

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics

Cite this

Burnett, J. S., Mitzner, T. L., Charness, N., & Rogers, W. A. (2011). Understanding predictors of computer communication technology use by older adults. In Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 55th Annual Meeting, HFES 2011 (pp. 172-176). (Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society). https://doi.org/10.1177/1071181311551034