Web-based interactive TV services for older users

This article reports a study that explored user requirements for web-based interactive TV (iTV) services from the perspective of older users. Members of a University of the Third Age (U3A) group were recruited for the study in order to explore the potential for web-based iTV to be used as a tool for mediating social communities. Focus groups and user trials were used to explore participants’ reactions to the concept of web-based iTV and to identify barriers to use. The study found that the web-based iTV service offered in some contexts several advantages to personal computer use that were valued by study participants. However, significant physical and cognitive barriers to use were identified, such as cost of services, lack of privacy, information overload and learning interface equipment. Recommendations for designing web-based iTV services for older users, generated in response to these concerns, include keeping the user interface simple, avoiding multi-modal keys on the keypad and providing information portals tailored to the interests of older users.