Usability and Design Issues of Smartphone User Interface and Mobile Apps for Older Adults

  • Chui Yin WongEmail author
  • Rahimah Ibrahim
  • Tengku Aizan Hamid
  • Evi Indriasari Mansor
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 886)


Smartphones have become essential communication tools for older adults to stay connected with their family and peers. The older adults are generally perceived as techno-phobic, and this poses challenges for them to adopt some advanced features on smartphones. Moreover, smartphones and some mobile apps are not designed to meet the needs and expectations of older adults. This hinders them from fully utilizing their functions and services. A mobile-user interaction study was conducted to examine the usability of smartphone user interface and mobile apps among 80 older adults. The 4 tasks were ‘making and retrieving voice calls’, ‘using phone book’, ‘installing a mobile app from Google Play Store’, and ‘using WhatsApp’. The usability result revealed that the ‘voice call’ task had the highest success task completion rate (83.44%), followed by phonebook (70.16%), mobile app (63.13%) and using WhatsApp (60.42%). To conclude, majority faced problems downloading a mobile app from Play Store. Although WhatsApp is their favourite communication app, it reveals the usability problems of using features such as sending audio recording files. They feared of upgrading their apps as they were not familiar with the notifications. There is still some room to improve issues in smartphone user interface design especially for older adults’ cohort.


Smartphone Mobile apps Older adults Usability Design 



The authors would like to express gratitude to the participants from University of Third Age (U3A) Malaysia involved in this study. This research study was funded by Malaysia Ministry of Higher Education Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS) [FRGS/1/2015/MMUE/150036]; and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Putra Grant [UPM/700-2/1/GP-IPS/2013/9390400].


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chui Yin Wong
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Rahimah Ibrahim
    • 2
  • Tengku Aizan Hamid
    • 2
  • Evi Indriasari Mansor
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Creative MultimediaMultimedia UniversityCyberjayaMalaysia
  2. 2.Malaysian Research Institute on Aging (MyAging)Universiti Putra MalaysiaSerdangMalaysia
  3. 3.Department of Computer SciencePrince Sultan UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia

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