Population ageing and the role of computers in current society have created a need to strengthen HCI with older people. The current paradigm considers them as a set of factors and central to it is compensation for age-related changes in functional abilities. This dissertation proposes a different paradigm: from factors towards interaction based on older people as social actors. Within this paradigm, compensating for diminishing abilities is not the cornerstone of research. Instead, interaction and real-life use should be closely intertwined. Against this framework, the thesis presents the results of an extensive ethnographic work on e-mail and web use. Quantitative and mixed methods are employed in other aspects related to use and interaction which complement this major study. Other chapters include methodological contributions to real-life evaluation. The dissertation discusses strategies for approaching HCI with older people. Central to them is the concept of life experience and the need to turn to everyday interactions by combining classical ethnography with experimentations.

Full Thesis:
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Thesis Advisor:
Josep Blat

Award Date:
July 1, 2009

Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Barcelona, Spain

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