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Learning to text: An interaction analytic study of how seniors learn to enter text on mobile phones

Conference paper
Authors Alexandra Weilenmann
Published in Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems
Publication year 2010
Published at The Linnaeus Centre for Research on Learning, Interaction, and Mediated Communication in Contemporary Society (LinCS)
Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Language en
Keywords Mobile phone, cell phone, texting, text input, seniors, novice users, video analysis, interaction analysis.
Subject categories Sociology, Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified, Older people and ageing


This paper is based on an interaction analysis of video recordings of seniors being instructed in the use of texting. Learning to text is a complex ordeal for the elderly, which not only involves grasping such complex phenomena as hierarchically organized menus and text prediction technology, but also more mundane and seemingly simple skills as pressing the keys. The latter is the primary focus of the analysis, as this is a common and taken for granted skill upon which many HCI systems rely. We show how the seniors struggle with learning to press in a sequence, embodying the timing and rhythm of key pressing, and orchestrating their vision and pressing. The study contributes to the general field of mobile phone design for the elderly, to our knowledge on how people appropriate and learn to use new technologies, as well as adds to models explaining novice users’ mastering of text input.

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