InMyDay: a study on input styles for a digital diary for older users

  • Iyubanit Rodriguez
  • Pedro O. Rossel
  • Marcelo Fernández
  • Carolina Fuentes
  • Alberto León
  • Valeria HerskovicEmail author
Original Research


Diary studies are used to gather user information in their natural context. Despite the advantages of digital diaries, older users are not able to fully benefit from them, e.g. due to decreased motor and cognitive abilities, and low digital skills. This work presents InMyDay, a digital diary application specifically designed and implemented for older users. The goal of this work is twofold: first, we research whether older users are able to record activities and reflect on their emotions using a digital diary. Then, using the results of this first phase, we implemented three input styles for the second version of the digital diary: voice, stylus, and keyboard. Overall, 23 older users participated in evaluations aimed at improving the design of the diary and understanding their input style preferences. We found that the older adults used the diary to reflect on their emotions, registering positive as well as negative emotions. We also found that the variety of choices in input styles helped the participants select the option most suited to their particular needs and preferences. Future work will focus on evaluating the digital diary over a longer period of time, to analyze variables such as long-term adoption and motivation, as well as trends in the selection of input styles.


Older users Digital diary Input styles Emotions 



This project was supported partially by CONICYT-PCHA/Doctorado Nacional/2014-63140077, Universidad de Costa Rica and CONICYT/FONDECYT No 1181162 (Chile). Also, it was partially supported by the Dirección de Investigación e Innovación and the Facultad de Ingeniería of the Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, Chile. Finally, the artwork was provided by artist Marcela Donoso (


  1. Bolger N, Davis A, Rafaeli E (2003) Diary methods: capturing life as it is lived. Annu Rev Psychol 54:579–616CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Braun V, Clarke V (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qual Res Psychol 3(2):77–101. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brewer R, Piper AM (2016) Tell it like it really is: a case of online content creation and sharing among older adult bloggers. In: Proceedings of the 2016 CHI conference on human factors in computing systems. ACM, pp 5529–5542.
  4. Brooke J (1996) SUS-A quick and dirty usability scale. Usability Eval Ind 189(194):4–7Google Scholar
  5. Chatzitheochari S, Fisher K, Gilbert E, Calderwood L, Huskinson T, Cleary A, Gershuny J (2018) Using new technologies for time diary data collection: instrument design and data quality findings from a mixed-mode pilot survey. Soc Indic Res 137(1):379–390. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chen W (2013) Gesture-based applications for elderly people. In: Proceedings of the international conference on human–computer interaction. interaction modalities and techniques. Springer, pp 186–195.
  7. Chen Z, Rau P-LP (2017) The role of size of input box, location of input box, input method and display size in Chinese handwriting performance and preference on mobile devices. Appl Ergon 59(Part A):215–224. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Courbet L, Bauchet J, Rialle V (2016) Evaluation of a digital diary for old people living in a retirement. Gerontechnology 15(Suppl):76s. Google Scholar
  9. Doyle J, Walsh L, Sassu A, McDonagh T (2014) Designing a wellness self-management tool for older adults: results from a field trial of your wellness. In: Proceedings of the 8th international conference on pervasive computing technologies for healthcare. Institute for Computer Sciences, Social-Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering (ICST), pp 134–141.
  10. Fernández M, Rodríguez I, Rossel PO, Fuentes C, Herskovic V (2017) InMyDay: a digital diary to promote self-care among elders. In: Ubiquitous computing and ambient intelligence. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp 486–497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ferrari A (2012) Digital competence in practice: an analysis of frameworks. Technical report, Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.
  12. Flood M, Phillips KD (2007) Creativity in older adults: a plethora of possibilities. Issues Ment Health Nurs 28(4):389–411. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fuentes C, Herskovic V, Rodríguez I, Gerea C, Marques M, Rossel PO (2017) A systematic literature review about technologies for self-reporting emotional information. J Ambient Intell Hum Comput 8(4):593–606. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. García-Peñalvo FJ, Conde M, Matellán-Olivera V (2014) Mobile apps for older users—the development of a mobile apps repository for older people. In: Proceedings of the 1st international conference on learning and collaboration technologies (LCT 2014), vol 8524. Springer, pp 117–126.
  15. Gitlow L (2014) Technology use by older adults and barriers to using technology. Phys Occup Ther Geriatr 32(3):271–280. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Goldberg D, Bridges K, Duncan-Jones P, Grayson D (1988) Detecting anxiety and depression in general medical settings. BMJ 297(6653):897–899CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gutiérrez FJ, Muñoz D, Ochoa SF, Tapia JM (2018) Assembling mass-market technology for the sake of wellbeing: a case study on the adoption of ambient intelligent systems by older adults living at home. J Ambient Intell Hum Comput. Google Scholar
  18. Iancu I, Iancu B (2017) Elderly in the digital era. Theoretical perspectives on assistive technologies. Technologies 5(3):60. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Isleifsdottir J, Larusdottir M (2008) Measuring the user experience of a task oriented software. In: Proceedings of the international workshop on meaningful measures: valid useful user experience measurement, pp 97–101Google Scholar
  20. Jacelon CS, Imperio K (2005) Participant diaries as a source of data in research with older adults. Qual Health Res 15(7):991–997. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Koopman-Boyden P, Richardson M (2013) An evaluation of mixed methods (diaries and focus groups) when working with older people. Int J Soc Res Methodol 16(5):389–401. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lind L, Karlsson D, Fridlund B (2008) Patients’ use of digital pens for pain assessment in advanced palliative home healthcare. Int J Med Inform 77(2):129–136. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lucero A (2015) Using affinity diagrams to evaluate interactive prototypes. In: Proceedings of the 15th IFIP TC 13 international conference on human-computer interaction (INTERACT 2015), part II, vol 9297. Springer, pp 231–248.
  24. Mickelson RS, Holden RJ (2017) Capturing the medication management work system of older adults using a digital diary method. Proc Hum Factors Ergon Soc Annu Meet 61(1):555–559. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Milligan C, Bingley A, Gatrell A (2005) Digging deep: using diary techniques to explore the place of health and well-being amongst older people. Soc Sci Med 61(9):1882–1892. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Morris M, Kathawala Q, Leen T, Gorenstein E, Guilak F, DeLeeuw W, Labhard M (2010) Mobile therapy: case study evaluations of a cell phone application for emotional self-awareness. J Med Internet Res 12(2):e10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Motti LG, Vigouroux N, Gorce P (2013) interaction techniques for older adults using touchscreen devices: a literature review. In: Proceedings of the 25th conference on L’Interaction Homme-Machine. ACM, New York, pp 125:125–125:134.
  28. Nedopil C, Schauber C, Glende S (2013) A collection of characteristics and requirements of primary, secondary, and tertiary users of AAL solutions, and a guideline for user-friendly AAL design.
  29. Nilsson M, Johansson S, Håkansson M (2003) Nostalgia: an evocative tangible interface for elderly users. In: Extended abstracts on human factors in computing systems. ACM, pp 964–965.
  30. Rodrigues É, Carreira M, Gonçalves D (2014) Improving text-entry experience for older adults on tablets. In: Proceedings of the 8th international conference on universal access in human–computer interaction. Aging and assistive environments (UAHCI 2014). Springer, pp 167–178.
  31. Rodríguez I, Karyda M, Lucero A, Herskovic V (2018) Exploring tangible ways to evaluate user experience for elders. In: Extended abstracts of the 2018 CHI conference on human factors in computing systems. ACM, New York, p. LBW589:1–LBW589:6.
  32. Sciarretta E, Ingrosso A, Volpi V, Opromolla A, Grimaldi R (2015) Elderly and tablets: considerations and suggestions about the design of proper applications. In: Proceedings of the first international conference on human aspects of IT for the aged population. Design for aging, part I. Springer, pp 509–518.
  33. Shepherd CE, Aagard S (2011) Journal writing with web 2.0 tools: a vision for older adults. Educ Gerontol 37(7):606–620. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Silva PA, Holden K, Jordan P (2015) Towards a list of heuristics to evaluate smartphone apps targeted at older adults: a study with apps that aim at promoting health and well-being. In: Proceedings of the 48th Hawaii international conference on system sciences (HICSS 2015). IEEE, pp 3237–3246.
  35. Smith AL, Chaparro BS (2015) Smartphone text input method performance, usability, and preference with younger and older adults. Hum Factors 57(6):1015–1028. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Taveira AD, Choi SD (2009) Review study of computer input devices and older users. Int J Hum Comput Interact 25(5):455–474. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Trampe D, Quoidbach J, Taquet M (2015) Emotions in everyday life. PLoS One 10(12):1–15. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tsai HS, Shillair R, Cotten SR, Winstead V, Yost E (2015) Getting grandma online: are tablets the answer for increasing digital inclusion for older adults in the U.S.? Educ Gerontol 41(10):695–709. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Vrotsou K, Bergqvist M, Cooper M, Ellegård K (2014) PODD: a portable diary data collection system. In: Proceedings of the 2014 international working conference on advanced visual interfaces. ACM, New York, pp 381–382.
  40. Waycott J, Pedell S, Vetere F, Ozanne E, Kulik L, Gruner A, Downs J (2012) Actively engaging older adults in the development and evaluation of tablet technology. In: Proceedings of the 24th Australian computer–human interaction conference. ACM, New York, pp 643–652.
  41. Williamson JR, McGee-Lennon M, Freeman E, Brewster S (2013) Designing a smartpen reminder system for older adults. In: Proceedings of the CHI’13 extended abstracts on human factors in computing systems. ACM, New York, pp 73–78.
  42. Xie B, Zhou J, Chen Z (2017) The attitude of senior adults to text entry of chinese characters on the mobile devices. In: 2017 5th International conference on enterprise systems (ES), pp 211–216.
  43. Zhou J, Rau P-LP, Salvendy G (2014) Older adults’ text entry on smartphones and tablets: investigating effects of display size and input method on acceptance and performance. Int J Hum Comput Interact 30(9):727–739. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Ziat M, Yao H-Y, Schmitt R, Hayward V (2016) FrontPanel: tangible user interface for touch-screens dedicated to elderly. In: Proceedings of the 2016 CHI conference extended abstracts on human factors in computing systems. ACM, New York, pp 3808–3811.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Business Computer ScienceUniversidad de Costa RicaAlajuelaCosta Rica
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceUniversidad Católica de la Santísima ConcepciónConcepciónChile
  3. 3.Centro de Investigación en Biodiversidad y Ambientes Sustentables (CIBAS)Universidad Católica de la Santísima ConcepciónConcepciónChile
  4. 4.School of Computer ScienceUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUK
  5. 5.Department of Computer SciencePontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile

Personalised recommendations