CEC Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Maxine S. Cohen

Committee Member

Eric S. Ackerman

Committee Member

Elizabeth K. Hawthorne

Abstract

The United States, as well as other nations, is experiencing an increase in the older adult population. As a result of older adults living longer, mobile devices can be a major component in improving older adults' quality of life. However, older adults may encounter difficulties when using the mobile devices. This research examined the requirements in addressing the needs of older adults when using a mobile device. Specifically, the research focused on gathering the task and feature requirements for a mobile device tutorial for older adults. The approach was accomplished by the development of a mobile device questionnaire, which was first administered to a pilot group of older adults, to determine the questionnaire's comprehensiveness, then to an adequate sample size of older adults at four senior activity centers, located in Prince George's County, Maryland. Based on the responses to the specific research questions from the total population, two focus groups, consisting of a total of ten individuals, were selected. The focus groups, identified as focus group A and B, were created, based on how likely or unlikely the respondent would use a mobile device tutorial. Following the collection of the questionnaires from the total population and the two focus groups, the results of the data were analyzed.

The quantitative findings for the total population for the task requirements found that e-mail had the highest mean (4.40%), followed by health, shopping, restaurant, and financial. The findings for the feature requirements found that photos had the highest mean (4.21%), followed by camera, contacts, reminders, and FaceTime. The researcher developed findings based on the qualitative analysis from the total sample population. The major qualitative findings consisted of the benefits, to include access, availability, accuracy and usefulness. The drawbacks consisted of ease of use, user concerns, and the inability to ask questions. In the analysis of the quantitative findings for the task requirements, focus group A was slightly different from the total population, with shopping having the highest mean (6.80%), followed by health, restaurants, e-mail and financial. The findings for the task requirements for focus group B, were similar to the total population, with e-mail and health having the highest means (1.60%), followed by restaurants and financial (equal), and shopping. The findings for the feature requirements for focus group A, were similar to the total population, with photos and reminders (6.80%), followed by camera, and FaceTime and contacts. The findings for the feature requirements for focus group B, were also similar to the total population and focus group A, with photos having the highest mean (1.80%), followed by reminders, and contacts, camera, and FaceTime (equal). In the analysis of the qualitative analysis for focus group A some of the benefits included availability and encouragement. For focus group B, some of the benefits included working at one's own pace, and understandability of the device.

The qualitative analysis for the total population findings for the benefits of a mobile device tutorial included access to a tutorial, availability, skill set for a tutorial, and usefulness. The main responses pertaining to why the respondent would use a mobile device include the device's availability, ease to use, use at one's leisure, and using the device at one's own pace. In examining the qualitative findings for the two focus groups, the major areas for the benefits for focus group A, are similar to the total population. These areas include availability, encouragement, and listening to the tutorial several times. The major areas for focus group B, are similar to the total population and focus group A, to include listening to the tutorial several times. In exploring deeper into the focus groups' responses, the participants addressed specific questions regarding the task and feature requirements. For the specific task or feature requirements for which a respondent would likely use a mobile device tutorial for assistance, focus group A's responses were the features of FaceTime and the tasks of e-mail, photos, and contacts. Focus group B responses were the task requirement of health care and financial and feature requirements of camera and photos.

The mixed method analysis supports the premise that older adults would desire instructions on the identified task and feature requirements for a mobile device tutorial. The recommendations of the research consisted of additional examination of collecting data across multiple senior activity centers, the Baby Boomer generation, and older adult computer classes. Designing a mock-up tutorial, using another mobile device, and the use of current Siri feature, are other possible research investigations. Lastly, the implications of the study, filled the gap regarding senior adults and mobile devices, by contributing to the research pertaining to mobile device tutorials that would accommodate older adults.

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