Degree Show 2018

Daniel Jacobs

  • 18 Diploma in Professional Studies

Final Year Project

A study of older peoples’ needs and desires for mobile phones

The proportion of over 65’s which own a smartphone, compared to any mobile phone is significantly lower than younger age groups. This study aims to investigate whether older users would be interested in the features that smartphones can offer, and if they are, what is preventing them from taking advantages of these features.

This study aims to establish the current user experience for a variety of mobile phone users, of various ages. This would include investigating current use, as well as asking for possible features that may benefit the user. Asking a range of ages, will help identify whether older users are being excluded from the benefits of new technology. Obtaining this information could be used to create more inclusively designed mobile phones, which will have benefits for older and disabled users.

The study was conducted using a questionnaire, which while providing some direction to the participant would still allow space for the user’s own thoughts. This is essential in avoiding bias and leading questions. The questionnaire also asked a range of questions which would be relevant to a variety of levels of technology users, to ensure that the survey gave an accurate picture, of the whole market.

Data analysis of the results, showed that while many older people owned a mobile phone, their primary use of this device was only for making calls and texts, meaning that expensive smartphones with many features did not appeal to them. If an older user was to complete a task such as email, they would prefer to complete this task inside their house on a tablet or laptop, where it is much easier to type. Typing on mobile phones was viewed as one of the most difficult aspects, so there still could be improvements to the phones design, to help people send texts with greater ease, including integration of voice recognition.

Better integration of mobile phones with tablets, laptops and computers could create a better user experience for all. For example, having shared contacts across all devices could allow the user to use different means of communications with more fluency; the user could call on the phone but use a computer for typing longer emails, all while having a record of the communication under the same contact. The same idea could apply to a calendar, the user can enter data on the computer, but be reminded on the phone, even when outside the home.

Perhaps to target this demographic, a phone could have greater cloud computing integration, allowing for a less expensive device with lower flash storage, processing and RAM requirements, as participants of the study all seem concerned with value for money.