Design and management features of everyday technology that challenge older adults

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Introduction: The management of everyday technologies could present too difficult a challenge for older adults with cognitive impairments, leading to their exclusion from participation. The present study aims to identify and describe features that make everyday technologies more or less difficult for older adults, whether with or without cognitive difficulties.

Methods: A pre-existent, empirically generated hierarchy of more to less difficult everyday technologies was analysed. A mixed methods design was used to investigate predefined assumptions.

Findings: Correlation analysis indicated that the more difficult everyday technologies required a higher frequency of skill actions; a positive correlation between the difficulty of an everyday technology and the need to perform actions in a logical sequence when using it was identified. The analysis indicated that feedback provided to users by less difficult everyday technologies consisted of different modes of stimuli (visual, auditory and tactile), while that from more difficult everyday technologies provided a high frequency of complex visual feedback. The less difficult everyday technologies were designed in a manner that was more intuitive; the design guided the user and fewer errors could be made.

Conclusion: This study presents several features in the design of everyday technologies, and the skills required in using them, that could make their management more difficult for older adults.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2013

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at

    Submissions can be made at

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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