Older adults’ user experiences with mobile phones
Skills:Featured, Mobile, Research, User Experience
Aim: To develop guidelines for GUI of mobile screen for geriatric users.
Duration: 3 months (Fall 2007 | IITG, India)
Collaborators: Aditya Saxena
Methods Used: Persona Creation, Scenario Analysis, Prototyping, Cognitive Walkthrough, Interface/ Visual Design, Reaction Time Measurement, Heuristic Evaluation, Contextual Inquiry, Survey Design, Data Analysis and Optimization.
Epitome: This research addressed how older adults interact with mobile phones in their everyday lives and how mobile phones could be designed to best meet their needs. Two studies were conducted using a mixed-research method to identify representative user clusters and to understand user experiences. An application was developed based on the findings.
Project Brief: The threefold aim of this project was
- To find out the problems faced by Geriatric Users (older adults) in interacting with the presently available mobile phones;
- To find out whether mobile phone usage in older adults follows a homogenous or heterogeneous pattern
- To provide a basis to the interface developer, for designing the Graphic User Interface (GUI) of the mobile phones for older adults specifically.
Design and Methodology: We started with user survey and literature research to understand our user and their environment in a better way. It was found that out of 118 million mobile users in India, 35% (41 million) are above age of 50 years.  Also an Indian mobile user pays Rs. 3700.00 on an average for a handset.
The limitations of a geriatric user were studied and comprehended. Two studies were conducted using a mixed-research method to identify representative user clusters and to understand user experiences.
In Study 1, 25 older adult mobile phone users completed a questionnaire to investigate 1) functional usage, 2) perception about mobile phone quality, and 3) other aspects of user experiences (e.g., motivations of acquisition and learning method).
Study 2 used a more holistic approach to describe older adults’ user experiences. The aims were 1) to capture stories that reflected user experiences, 2) to identify barriers that older adults faced through the course of user experience and 3) to provide recommendations to improve user experiences.
Deliverables: Results showed that older adults are generally conservative mobile phone users who use a few functions of mobile phones and perceive their present phone to be difficult to use. Understanding error messages, menu navigation, and text input were found to be the most difficult for them.
A set of user requirements along with diverse user profiles of —- were developed as outcomes of this research. Wireframe modeling was done and a final prototype was developed in flash.
 IDC’s India Mobile Handset Usage and Satisfaction Study 2007