Elderly people

Image of an elderly man using technology.


Most elderly people are not used to the new technologies .Their sons and daughters or their grandsons and granddaughters use new technologies easily and sometimes elderly people feel out of place because they cannot use them. After increasing the use of mobile devices, one of the tools that many people are starting to use more and more are chats. As a result, elderly people want to use them too. However, they experience challenges when they want to use chats.


The study aimed to detect the main problems that elderly people face when they use chats in desktop and mobile environments. To achieve it, fictitious Personas were created to identify some of the user barriers. Furthermore, the Persona method was combined with the Scenario method in order to obtain some of the user troubles.

Secondly, real users were involved in a study which was conducted in the city council of Leganés (Madrid, Spain). For three classes (1 hour each) in two groups of elderly people who assist to Word and Excel the study was performed. During the study, a semi-structured group interview was carried out in each group. This interview aimed to collect the previous problems that they had had when they used chats in mobile and desktop environments. As some of the participants did not know anything about chats, they were taught how to use a chat on desktop computers. The chosen chat was Skype because it is an easy to learn chat and supports text chatting. Some of the taught features were related to: create an account, login into the application, add contacts, chat with one partner and chat in groups. Later, semi-structured observations were conducted to detect the main troubles that they experience when they use Skype.

Image of elderly people using Skype.

Finally, students completed a survey where they specified the barriers that they faced in the experiment as well as their demographic characteristics.


After conducting the study, it can be concluded that elderly people face many problems related to: the size of the keyboard, the use of contractions and so on. The obtained challenges through the Persona method are detailed in the conference and journal articles detailed in the Output section. However, the complete list of the challenges is not detailed here or in any website or document because they are described in a paper which has been sent to a conference and is under review.


Twelve months (2013)


Rocío Calvo
Ana Iglesias
Lourdes Moreno

Applied Skills and Methods

Group interviews
Statistical Analyses


Conferences: "Requirements elicitation to design an accessible chat as a synchronous tool in m-learning environments" and "Overlapping Chat's Accessibility Requirements between students with and without disabilities due to the mobile limitations"

Journal: "Requirements elicitation for designing an accessible chat"