Academic journal article International Journal of Design

Understanding Older Adults’ Post-Adoption Usage Behavior and Perceptions of Mobile Technology

Academic journal article International Journal of Design

Understanding Older Adults’ Post-Adoption Usage Behavior and Perceptions of Mobile Technology

Article excerpt

Introduction

Mobile technology use is becoming imperative for older adults to remain independent and active for longer (Mitzner et al., 2010). Older adults, it has been reported, perceive various benefits of mobile technology; it helps older adults maintain and develop social relationships, monitor and manage their health status, and benefit from security services (Gao, Ebert, Chen, & Ding, 2015; Jeong, Salvendy, & Proctor, 2010). Contemporary mobile technologies also offer smaller displays, direct manipulation interfaces, and numerous functions that can be accessed in any location and at any time; thus, they are much easier for older adults to use than earlier technologies. Nevertheless, the development of advanced mobile technologies has also introduced unprecedented challenges that may lead to unforeseen adoption and usage patterns for older adults (Zhou, Rau, & Salvendy, 2012). Firstly, while mobile technology has been implemented as a platform with high mobility, security, and functionality, the integration of such features makes all stages of mobile technology adoption more complicated than is required for general technologies, from the intention to use the technologies, to the early adoption of basic functions, and finally to the upgraded use of advanced functions. Secondly, from a user perspective, characteristics of the older adult population, such as subjective norms and age-related declines in capabilities, may influence how older adults use and perceive mobile technology in their daily lives (Pan & Jordan-Marsh, 2010; Wagner, Hassanein, & Head, 2014).

Related studies have investigated factors that potentially influence a typical user’s acceptance of general technologies. One focus of those studies has been to encourage acceptance through improving technology usability for older adults. Such studies have focused, primarily, on the effects of several technology components (Chung et al., 2015; Page, 2014) or age-related differences (Chevalier, Dommes, & Marquié, 2015; Dommes, Chevalier, & Lia, 2011; van der Wardt, Bandelow, & Hogervorst, 2010). These researchers investigated these effects by asking users to accomplish specific technology-based tasks and collecting measurement data such as task accuracy and speed. While such task-based research tells us a great deal about isolated activities it may not represent what the users actually experience in the usage of technologies. This difference is because the real-life usage context could be more complicated. Furthermore, higher technology usability may not result in increased technology acceptance. It has been shown that older adults use less advanced technologies even when the latter technologies are easy to use (Zhou et al., 2012). This has led to another area of study focused on internal perception attributes and external influential factors. Within this area of study, the most widely accepted models for predicting technology acceptance behavior include the technology acceptance model [TAM] (Davis, Bagozzi, & Warshaw, 1989) and unified theory of acceptance and use of technology [UTAUT] (Venkatesh, Morris, Davis, & Davis, 2003). Determinants and barriers that influence older adults’ adoption and acceptance of technologies have been discussed in different usage contexts such as assistive technology (Fischer, David, Crotty, Dierks, & Safran, 2014), information and communications technology (Elliot, Mooney, Douthit, & Lynch, 2014), computers and the Internet (Sheng & Simpson, 2015), and general technologies (Chen & Chan, 2014; Lee & Coughlin, 2015). Some crucial predictors have been identified, including personal attitudes and beliefs (e.g., perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use), individual characteristics (e.g., age, gender, and experience), and some external variables (e.g., facilitating conditions and social influence).

Acceptance is an attitude toward technology use, whereas adoption is a complicated process. …

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