Let’s spend some time together: exploring the out-of-box experience of technology for older adults

Designing technology for older people has traditionally focused on compensating for the decline in abilities that occurs with ageing. The research described in this paper followed a more holistic approach, focusing on the broader user experience of technology in the home environment. Specifically, this research was concerned with the very first interactions with a new product known as the Out-of-Box Experience (OoBE): how older people acquire their technology, how they unpack it, and how they set it up. This paper describes two exploratory studies that used a design ethnography approach to build a rich picture of the OoBE of new technology for older adults. The findings indicate that older people experience varying benefits from the involvement of other people during the OoBE of new technology. Lastly, the paper discusses the value of social interaction in this context and offers recommendations on the design of the OoBE of technology to engage older adults.