Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Lynn Shaw

2nd Supervisor

Jeff Holmes

Joint Supervisor


Background and Purpose

In the current technological-era there is assumption of universal Internet access of citizens in North America. Many senior citizens have the desire to access the Internet, however have limited experience-using computers. There currently exists multiple options in addition to personal computers to access the Internet such as tablet computers, however there has been limited research performed on the use of these technologies by senior citizens.

Methodology and Methods

This paper describes the experiences and insight of five novice senior iPad owners as well as a detailed task and activity analysis of these seniors utilizing the device. Through focus group based discussion in combination with the use of a hierarchical task analysis (HTA) and an activity analysis (AA) and post-interviews this paper describes the experiences and insight of five novice senior iPad owners as well an evaluation of the usability of the iPad amongst these users.

Findings and Conclusion

Overall, participant’s experiences on the iPad were very positive and the iPad displayed a high usability. Participants used the device with a high-degree of efficiency and rated the device as being highly intuitive. The main sources of difficulty resulted from a read-tap asymmetry, ambiguous touchable areas within some applications and ambiguous icon depiction. Similar to the findings of prior literature studying the iPads usability with younger populations, this research found that the iPad was used highly effectively with an older population and the difficulties that this older population experienced were nearly identical to those experienced by younger populations in other research. These findings in combination with the positive and non-intimidating perception the iPad received from the participants, suggests that the iPad may be an effective and highly useful option for Internet access amongst seniors.