The Influence Factors of Mobile Devices Adoption Among Older People

The Influence Factors of Mobile Devices Adoption Among Older People

Muna Azuddin (International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Sofianiza Abd Malik (Prince Sultan University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) and Lili Marziana Abdullah (International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/IJITPM.2018070102
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This article describes how the use of mobile devices has huge potential in assisting mobile users to perform everyday tasks. However, there is a small percentage of older people that uses mobile devices. This shows that, there are several factors that influenced the small group of older people to adopt the technology. In addition, there have been limited studies that investigate factors that influenced older people to adopt mobile devices. This article aims to understand the causes that have encouraged older people to adopt such technology. Qualitative methods including interview and focus groups were conducted among twenty-one older people aged 55 and above. The results indicated that, there were five factors that influenced older people to use mobile devices. These factors were mobile device design, functions, social inspiration, economical and other related factors.
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Nowadays, technology has become ubiquitous where technologies are made to be able anytime and everywhere, especially in the use of interactive technology - mobile devices. Mobile devices are commonly used because of its features and applications that allow mobile users to efficiently perform multiple tasks such as communication, education, entertainment, financial, navigation and many others. The latest development of mobile devices has made the desktop computers to become obsolete in many ways. This is due to the application of mobile device in assisting tasks completion while being mobile in nature (Islam, Islam & Mazumder, 2010; Comscore, 2014).

People from all corners of the world are adopting mobile devices as their personal gadgets as they are aware of the advantages of the device. The number of mobile device users is reported to be increasing year by year (Sanou, 2015) including in Malaysia, with teens and adult users currently dominating the market (MCMC, 2014). These users - younger users - are actively using mobile devices in every aspect of their lives such as for communication, navigation, financial, entertainment, spiritual, health, productivity, and much more.

Similar to other mobile users, older people also gain lot of benefits from the adoption of mobile devices. The use of mobile devices is able to enhance their lives in many aspects such as facilitating social relationships with the younger generation (children) and community, promote ageing-in-place by assisting their life independently. It can also increase their social status and self-motivation by being at par with others especially in obtaining the latest information efficiently. Older people are interested to adopt mobile devices as they are aware the benefits of the technology that can assist them to maintain their well-being (MCMC, 2014; Hamid, 2015).

The emergence of mobile device environment in terms of physical device and applications have become progressively complex which present challenges to older people. Commonly, mobile devices are designed to fit the use of younger people, thus, the device could be not appropriate for older people and disabled people to use the devices due to improper physical, interface and interaction designs that are aligned with their abilities. For example, complex menu navigation is not suitable for older people as it requires more learning effort for them. Limited cognition function has led older people to easily forget the steps to use the application. Another example is, small font and keypad size which also incur problem to older people (Kurniawan, 2008). They may experience decline in eyesight and slower motor skills which can affect their response time. Thus, it is important for mobile designers to understand the issues and improve the design, to be usable for older people.

Despites the issues that older people faced in using mobile devices, it was interesting to highlight what were the motivations that influence them to use mobile devices. It showed that, though they were struggling to learn using mobile devices, they had good driving factors that forced them to use the technology. A deeper investigation is needed to understand other factors that contribute to influence older people to use mobile devices.

There were several great studies that examined the influenced factors of mobile device adoption among older people. The studies are focusing on theoretical framework such as using Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) and Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) model (Mallenius, Rossi, & Tuunainen, 2007; Conci, Pianesi, & Zancanaro; 2009; Barnard et al., 2014; Hui, 2016). However, there is a lack of study that explore the influence factors from other perspectives beyond the perceptions of mobile devices.

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