Skip to main content

Senior Citizens and Smartphones: Identifying User Segments in Urban Middle-Class India

  • Conference paper
  • First Online:
Design in the Era of Industry 4.0, Volume 1 (ICORD 2023)

Abstract

Despite rapidly growing smartphone ubiquity, technology has not been designed and developed accounting for the abilities, perceptions, and preferences of an ageing population. The effects of ageing include cognitive and physiological decline; this, along with habits ingrained over a lifetime, limits existing technological devices’ usability for them. As life expectancy increases, senior citizens become increasingly relevant smartphone users. The interaction between the elderly and smartphones has received limited empirical scrutiny, particularly in urban middle-class India. This study critically examines how the elderly in metropolitan middle-class India interacts with their smartphones through first-hand user research. We conducted twelve online and three hybrid interviews with fifteen senior citizens and analysed the data using six codes: (a) Frequency of use of/amount of time spent on the smartphone; (b) Breadth of smartphone use-cases; (c) Technology exposure/smartphone-savviness; (d) Comfort/confidence with smartphones; (e) Self-reported receptivity towards new ideas and technological interventions and (f) Proclivity to take action to adopt new ideas and technological interventions in practice. We then identify user segments based on their mobile phone usage, pain points, expectations, and outlook towards technology in general. Five distinct user segments emerge from the research. We designate them as (1) ’Bold Bhoomika’, (2) ‘Practical Prakash’, (3) ’Enthusiastic Eklavya’, (4) ‘Hesitant Hari’ and (5) ‘No-thanks Naina.’ This study demonstrates the variety and nuances of smartphones’ roles in the lives of the urban middle-class Indian elderly. While the exact technological tool (in this case, smartphones) in question may change with time, these broad segments would remain a relevant reference framework, aiding designers, engineers, technologists and others who build solutions for Indian elderly users.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or eBook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 299.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book
USD 379.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

References

  1. Raj, U., Galhotra, A., et al.: The maintenance and welfare of parents and senior citizens act, 2007-helping the conditions of the elderly in india. Ind. J. Commun. Fam. Med. 5(2), 157 (2019)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. World population prospects: key findings and advance tables. 2015 revision. https://population.un.org/wpp/Publications/Files/Key_Findings_WPP_2015.pdf. Accessed: 07 Jan 2022

  3. Czaja, S.J., Lee, C.C.: The impact of aging on access to technology. Univ. Acc. Inf. Soc. 5(4), 341–349 (2007)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Charness, N., Boot, W.R.: Aging and information technology use: potential and barriers. Current Dir. Psychol. Sci. 18(5), 253–258 (2009)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Changing patterns of income and expenditure of older people in India: an assessment. https://www.agewellfoundation.org/images/Changing%20Income-Expenditure%20Pattern%20of%20Older%20Persons%20Apr-2018%20-%20National.pdf. Accessed: 23 Feb 2022

  6. Andone, I., Błaszkiewicz, K., Eibes, M., Trendafilov, B., Montag, C., Markowetz, A.: How age and gender affect smartphone usage. In: Proceedings of the 2016 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing: Adjunct, pp. 9–12 (2016)

    Google Scholar 

  7. Conci, M., Pianesi, F., Zancanaro, M.: Useful, social and enjoyable: mobile phone adoption by older people. In: IFIP Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, pp. 63–76. Springer (2009)

    Google Scholar 

  8. Mallenius, S., Rossi, M., Tuunainen, V.K.: Factors affecting the adoption and use of mobile devices and services by elderly people–results from a pilot study. In: 6th Annual Global Mobility Roundtable, vol. 31, pp. 12 (2007)

    Google Scholar 

  9. Hazer, O., Sanlı, S.: The technology opportunities in everyday life for the elderly. Int. J. Soc. Sci. Human. Stud. 2(2), 97–102 (2010)

    Google Scholar 

  10. Karaoglu, G., Hargittai, E., Hunsaker, A., Nguyen, M.H.: Changing technologies, changing lives: older adults’ perspectives on the benefits of using new technologies. Int. J. Commun. 15, 3887–3907 (2021)

    Google Scholar 

  11. Rao, P., Joshi, A.: Design opportunities for supporting elderly in india in managing their health and fitness post-covid-19. In: IndiaHCI’20: proceedings of the 11th Indian conference on human-computer interaction, pp. 34–41 (2020)

    Google Scholar 

  12. Rogers, W.A., Mynatt, E.D.: How can technology contribute to the quality of life of older adults. In: Technology of Humanity: Can Technology Contribute to the Quality of Life, vol. 22, pp. 30 (2003)

    Google Scholar 

  13. Gelderblom, H., van Dyk, T., van Biljon, J.: Mobile phone adoption: do existing models adequately capture the actual usage of older adults? In: Proceedings of the 2010 Annual Research Conference of the South African Institute of Computer Scientists and Information Technologists, pp. 67–74 (2010)

    Google Scholar 

  14. Yousef, M.K.: Assessment of metaphor efficacy in user interfaces for the elderly: a tentative model for enhancing accessibility. In: Proceedings of the 2001 EC/NSF Workshop on Universal Accessibility of Ubiquitous Computing: Providing for the Elderly, pp. 120–124 (2001)

    Google Scholar 

  15. Hanson, V.L.: Web access for elderly citizens. In: Proceedings of the 2001 EC/NSF Workshop on Universal Accessibility of Ubiquitous Computing: Providing for the Elderly, pp. 14–18 (2001)

    Google Scholar 

  16. Vuori, S., Holmlund-Rytkönen, M.: 55+ People as Internet Users. Marketing Intelligence & Planning (2005)

    Google Scholar 

  17. Vicente, P., Lopes, I.: Attitudes of older mobile phone users towards mobile phones. Communications 41(1), 71–86 (2016)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Horrigan, J.B.: A typology of information and communication technology users (2007)

    Google Scholar 

  19. Krum, C.: Mobile Marketing: Finding your Customers no Matter Where they Are. Pearson Education (2010)

    Google Scholar 

  20. Antoine, P.: Understanding the mobile phone market drivers. Alcatel Telecommun. Rev. (4/1):55–58 (2003)

    Google Scholar 

  21. Petrovčič, A., Slavec, A., Dolničar, V.: The ten shades of silver: segmentation of older adults in the mobile phone market. Int. J. Human-Comput. Inter. 34(9), 845–860 (2018)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Flanagan, J.C.: The critical incident technique. Psychol. Bullet. 51(4), 327 (1954)

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank all interviewees for their valuable input.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Pragnya Ramjee .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Appendix

Appendix

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2023 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.

About this paper

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this paper

Ramjee, P., Rathi, A., Banerjee, S. (2023). Senior Citizens and Smartphones: Identifying User Segments in Urban Middle-Class India. In: Chakrabarti, A., Singh, V. (eds) Design in the Era of Industry 4.0, Volume 1. ICORD 2023. Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies, vol 343. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-99-0293-4_38

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-99-0293-4_38

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Singapore

  • Print ISBN: 978-981-99-0292-7

  • Online ISBN: 978-981-99-0293-4

  • eBook Packages: EngineeringEngineering (R0)

Publish with us

Policies and ethics