Universal Access in the Information Society

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 67–81 | Cite as

User study on older adults’ use of the Web and search engines

  • Anne Aula
Long paper


Ten older adults were interviewed about the motivational factors behind learning to use computers and the negative and positive aspects related to it. They were then given search tasks and were observed as they used search engines for finding information from the Web. All of the participants completed several search tasks during the search session. Although their performance in the search tasks was adequate, they faced several problems in the interaction. For example, text editing was difficult and understanding the structure of the Web and terminology used caused problems. Based on the observations, an “elderly friendly” search user interface is proposed.


Older adults World Wide Web Search engines User study 



I would like to thank all the elderly computer users who volunteered for this study. I would also like to thank Eija-Riitta Kortesluoma and Heikki Pettilä for their help in recruiting the participants and also for having a positive attitude towards scientific research on this area. Professor Kari-Jouko Räihä, Johanna Höysniemi, and Tomi Heimonen are thanked for giving valuable comments on this paper. The study was financially supported by the Graduate School in User-Centered Information Technology and the Academy of Finland (project 178099).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tampere Unit for Computer–Human Interaction, Department of Computer SciencesUniversity of TampereFinland

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