Circumspect Users: Older Adults’ as Critical Adopters and Resistors of Technology

Barros Pena, Belen, Clarke, Rachel, Holmquist, Lars and Vines, John (2021) Circumspect Users: Older Adults’ as Critical Adopters and Resistors of Technology. In: CHI '21: Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings . Association for Computing Machinery, New York, p. 84. ISBN 9781450380966

chi21b-sub4022-cam-i16.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (6MB) | Preview
Official URL:


While HCI research has often addressed the needs of older adults, they are often framed as being sceptical of digital technologies. We argue that while many older adults are circumspect users of digital technology, they bring rich and critical perspectives on the role of technology in society that are grounded in lived experiences across their life courses. We report on 20 technology life story interviews conducted with retirees over the age of 60. Our analysis shows how experiences of technology across their life courses significantly undermined participants’ sense of competency, independence, resilience, agency and control. Dissonances between what our participants valued and the perceived values of technology have led them to become critical adopters of technology, and resist its intrusion into certain aspects of their lives. We discuss how the critical perspectives of older adults and the value dissonances they experience are valuable for designing future digital technologies.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Funding information: This research was funded by a UKRI Arts and Humanities Research Council doctoral studentship (Ref: 1947353). We would like to thank our participants for sharing their experience and making this research possible.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Older adults, Life course, Life story interview, Everyday resistance
Subjects: J900 Others in Technology
W200 Design studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Design
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 07 May 2021 13:19
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2021 14:15

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics