Exploring tangible user interface for social interaction and quality of life: The experiences of home-dwelling older adults
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBong WK, Chen W, Bergland A. Exploring tangible user interface for social interaction and quality of life: The experiences of home-dwelling older adults. Gerontechnology. 2020;20 https://doi.org/10.4017/gt.2020.20.003.08
Background: Social relationships are an important element in our quality of life, and good social interaction can contribute to flourishing social relationships. Information and com-munications technology (ICT) has been developed to enhance our social interaction, but older adults encounter challenges in connection with its use. Some older adults might find it challenging to use small icons and buttons on touch screen devices, mouse and key-board that require hand-eye coordination and touch screens that require sensitive fingers etc. Tangible user interface (TUI) enables users to interact with digital information through everyday physical objects. Hence, TUI can be a more intuitive user interface for older adults. However, little is known about the potential of TUI in relation to social interaction and quality of life in older home-dwelling adults. Objective: In this study, we aim to investigate home-dwelling older adults’ experience of using a TUI application with respect to social interaction and quality of life. Methods: The TUI application, Tangible Cup, was used by 20 older participants in a 12-week pilot study. The study design was based on a semi-structured interview and the inter-view data were analysed using a hermeneutic interpretation approach. Results: The results show that some participants managed to have enjoyable conversa-tions with others despite the challenges in using Tangible Cup. The participants reflected on reasons for and against using Tangible Cup, and there is a mismatch between the par-ticipants’ attitudes and behaviour in relation to using Tangible Cup and its design. Conclusion: Based on the results, the characteristics of older adults who can benefit the most from using TUI and TUI designs that are suitable for them are summarised. By pro-viding a better understanding of how older people use TUI, the findings from this study could inform better TUI design for older people’s social interaction and quality of life.