Internet searching, tablet technology and older adults



Tablet technology presents a simplified interface for users to interact with Internet resources. A comparison of user interaction with iPad tablet technology and desktop computers by older adults was conducted to better understand how they interact with each technology to perform basic information search tasks. Ten computer literate, senior citizens were given six search tasks. User interactions were videotaped and the participants were interviewed about their search experiences. Collected data were coded and analyzed qualitatively. Participants struggled with some features of the tablet technology, but overall found the experience to be positive and were able to complete most of their search tasks to their satisfaction. Some features of the tablet were not intuitive and differed from the desktop systems the participants used regularly. The size and sensitivity of the display area also presented some usability challenges. The greatest obstacles to search task completion arose more from the design of the websites visited rather than the features of the devices used.