Technology Literacy for Older Adults

Designing for autonomy


In 2019, I served as a research assistant for Dr. Miso Kim's ethnographic study about older adults' sense of autonomy, examined through the lens of technology literacy. I conducted interviews, analyzed data & designed visual models to convey our findings.


  • The people grow older, their reliance on social services grows. However, the digital technology that is increasingly mediating these services is oftentimes not designed with older adults in mind.
  • Remaining autonomous is an important factor in older adults' health and social well-being.
  • Therefore, technology must actively adapt to their needs. Our research aimed to discover what these needs were.


  • We conducted 195 participants and 20 participant interviews to understand the factors contributing to autonomy as it relates to technology.
  • We then used these findings to design a new service to support older adults in learning technological skills.

Stakeholder Map

In the early stages of the project, I designed a stakeholder map to represent the different people and/or groups involved in the realm of older adults' technology usage, as well as their relationships to one another. 

Stakeholder Map – tech literacy

Barriers and Factors to Success

Identifying patterns in our interviews and surveys, I identified eleven barriers and ten success factors for technology adoption among older adults.

Barriers to success (1)
Factors to success


I also created three personas and their correlating journey maps based on the cluster analysis of our surveys and interviews. We found that there are insufficient channels for older adults to seek help for technical issues. Once family members or friends cannot provide effective solutions, many tend to give up.

personas tech literacy-01

Journey Maps

Service Concept

We designed a service concept that includes the participatory components of a service that supports older adults' technological literacy, including a teaching tool app and a series of courses. These tools and courses connect older adults with student volunteers, community centers, and local libraries.

Service Concept