GTI researcher wins the best paper award of the ICCHP Young Researcher Consortium

Susan Möller Ferreira, a PhD researcher in the Interactive Technologies Group (GTI), wins the best paper and presentation award of the 2012 ICCHP (International Conference on Computers Helping People with special needs) Young Researcher Consortium, which aims to encourage and promote young researchers in the field of assistive technologies. The awarded study is about understanding the interaction of older adults (60+) with interactive television (iTV). Susan Möller Ferreira aims to understand how older adults use this technology in real-life settings and to indentify the most relevant accessibility barriers they have to deal with. To this end, she has performed qualitative studies in 3 countries with different level of economical development: Brazil, Spain and Denmark.

In Spain, Susan conducted traditional ethnographical research methods (i.e. in situ observations and conversations) with around 100 older adults for one year and a half. She has also conducted similar methods with a group of 78 older adults in Brazil during one month and with around 90 older adults in Denmark over a four-month period. The older adults involved in her research have different levels of educational attainment and some previous experience with computers and the Internet.

The results of study conducted in Spain show that in relation to the Video Web Portals the participants were very interested in sharing videos by e-mail with family and friends and unwilling to publicly comment videos.  After trying some applications in the computer the older people showed interest in having more technology on the TV, especially the possibility of re-watch their favorite TV programs or watch those they missed.  The results also show that for them using technology is crucial to feel included and topics as family and privacy are very important.

This study is part of Susan’s ongoing PhD thesis, whose results will help us gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between older adults in different cultural settings with iTV and related technologies, such as video-web portals, in out-of-laboratory conditions. Susan is conducting her PhD under the supervision of Josep Blat, with the support of Sergio Sayago.