Universal Access in the Information Society

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 373–390 | Cite as

A survey of technology accessibility problems faced by older users in China

  • Dengfeng Yao
  • Yunfeng Qiu
  • Hairui Huang
  • Zaixin Du
  • Jianqing Ma
Long Paper


Internet accessibility for older users has become an important issue to promote inclusion and participation in the Information Society. This paper proposes an investigation into the technology accessibility problems faced by older users in China. The research reported here was conducted by means of an exploratory survey with a Web-based questionnaire and discussions with older users at meetings. The study had 180 valid answers and involved representatives from each of the 25 provinces of China. The results show that 39% of the participants cannot or can only partially access information, because of various kinds of accessibility problems. Many participants indicated that the main problems in accessing the Internet were health barriers, circumstances barriers, and Internet design barrier. The possible reason for these difficulties could be that the government doesn’t foster a social environment conducive to helping the elderly to get online and that it does not provide services for the elderly designed to help them access information electronically. The poor rate of accessibility industry for the elderly, as well as the lack of Chinese accessibility laws, is an important issue that must be dealt with to promote greater Internet accessibility for the elderly.


Accessibility Survey Older users Internet 



Our thanks to the China Ministry of Education and IBM for funding this work, and to Dr. Peter Kelly for his contributions to the revision of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dengfeng Yao
    • 1
  • Yunfeng Qiu
    • 2
  • Hairui Huang
    • 3
  • Zaixin Du
    • 4
  • Jianqing Ma
    • 5
  1. 1.Special Education College of Beijing Union UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Foreign Language School of Jingchu University of TechnologyJingmenPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Huanggang Disabled Persons’ FederationHuanggangPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Hubei Disabled Persons’ FederationWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  5. 5.China50plus, IncHaidian DistrictPeople’s Republic of China

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