Enabling Continual Digital Inclusion of Older Adults

About us

Effectively using online applications and services is becoming essential to fully participate in our society, democracy, and economy2,6. But that has put many older adults at a significant disadvantage2,4,7. Although tech ownership among older adults has increased significantly over the past half-decade, most still use very few digital apps and services. 

To advance the digital inclusion of older adults, we are studying the sociotechnical barriers they face in the continual use of digital apps and services—beyond onboarding and early adoption1-8. The Enabling Continual Digital Inclusion of Older Adults (ENCODE) research project aims to identify and address these barriers via tech or social innovations.

Our research is human-centered and community-centered1-8. As part of our research, we organize different community events for older adults and their loved ones, where we provide digital literacy skills and tech support and learn about older adults and their tech use. These events and programs are informed by the latest research in aging and technology and funded by the University of Illinois Chicago and the National Institute of Aging.

Community Programs

Ongoing

Mobile Tech Support via Text

Mobile Tech Support for Older Adults

Do you need help using your smartphone or tablet? Are there apps or services you struggle to get the most out of? We are offering mobile tech support to older adults remotely via text to learn about their problems during ongoing tech use.

Contact Hasti Sharifi at 331.213.9559‬ or hshari3@uic.edu if you want to participate in this study.

Upcoming

Cloud Storage Basics

Mobile Tech Workshop for Older Adults: Cloud Storage Basics

This “bring your own device” (BYOD) workshop will cover the basics of how to use the cloud (Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and iCloud) via your smartphone or tablet.

June 4, 2024, Tuesday 12 pm – 2 pm

Oak Park Public Library, Main Branch
834 Lake St., Oak Park, IL 60301
708.383.8200

Taking, saving, and sharing photos

Mobile Tech Workshop for Older Adults: Taking, saving, and sharing photos

This workshop will cover the basics of taking photos, making albums, and sharing photos with family, friends, and social media via your smartphone or tablet.

June 10, 2024, Thursday 11 am – 1 pm

Fourth Presbyterian Church
126 E Chestnut St, Chicago, IL 60611
773.248.8700

Rideshare and Parking Apps

Mobile Tech Workshop for Older Adults: Rideshare and Parking Apps

This “bring your own device” (BYOD) workshop will cover the basics of using rideshare apps and parking apps common in Oak Park and Chicago (e.g., Lyft, Oak Park Parking) via your smartphone or tablet.

June 20, 2024, Thursday 10:30 am – 12:30 pm

Oak Park Public Library, Main Branch
834 Lake St., Oak Park, IL 60301
708.383.8200

Rideshare and Parking Apps

Mobile Tech Workshop for Older Adults: Rideshare and Parking Apps

This workshop will cover the basics of using rideshare apps and parking apps common in Oak Park and Chicago (e.g., Lyft, Chicago Parking) via your smartphone or tablet.

June 24, 2024, Monday 11 am – 11 pm

Fourth Presbyterian Church
126 E Chestnut St, Chicago, IL 60611
773.248.8700

People

Debaleena Chattopadhyay, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator
debchatt@uic.edu

Hasti Sharifi, MS

Researcher, Ph.D. Student
hshari3@uic.edu

Pantea Habibi, MS

Researcher, Ph.D. Student
phabib4@uic.edu

Nina Sakhnini, MS

Researcher, Ph.D. Student
Project Coordinator
nsakhn2@uic.edu

Published Research

[1] Yu, J. E., & Chattopadhyay, D. (2024). Reducing the Search Space on demand helps Older Adults find Mobile UI Features quickly, on par with Younger Adults. In Proceedings of the 2024 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1-19). [link]

[2] Sharifi, H., & Chattopadhyay, D. (2023). Senior Technology Learning Preferences Model for Mobile Technology. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction7(MHCI), 1-39. [link]

[3] Yu, J. E., Parde, N., & Chattopadhyay, D. (2023). “Where is history”: toward designing a voice assistant to help older adults locate interface features quickly. In Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1-19). [link]

[4] Sharifi, H., & Chattopadhyay, D. (2023). A Cross-Cultural Study of Relational Maintenance in Tech Caregiving. In Extended Abstracts of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1-10). [link]

[5] Sakhnini, N., & Chattopadhyay, D. (2022). A Review of Smartphone Fact-Checking Apps and their (Non) Use Among Older Adults. In Adjunct Publication of the 24th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (pp. 1-8). [link]

[6] Knowles, B., Hanson, V. L., Rogers, Y., Piper, A. M., Waycott, J., Davies, N., … & Yuan, I. Y. (2021). The harm in conflating aging with accessibility. Communications of the ACM64(7), 66-71. [link]

[7] Yu, J. E., & Chattopadhyay, D. (2020). “Maps are hard for me”: identifying how older adults struggle with mobile maps. In Proceedings of the 22nd International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (pp. 1-8) [link]

[8] Yu, J. E., & Chattopadhyay, D. (2020). Supporting Older Adults in Locating Mobile Interface Features with Voice Input. In Proceedings of the 22nd International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (pp. 1-4). [link]

Upcoming Events

June 4, 12 – 2 pm

Mobile Tech Workshop for Older Adults: Cloud Storage Basics


834 Lake St., Oak Park, IL 60301
708.383.8200

June 10, 11 – 1 pm

Mobile Tech Workshop for Older Adults: Taking, saving, and sharing photos


126 E Chestnut St, Chicago, IL 60611
773.248.8700

June 20, 10:30- 12:30 pm

Mobile Tech Workshop for Older Adults: Rideshare and Parking Apps


834 Lake St., Oak Park, IL 60301
708.383.8200

June 24, 11 – 1 pm

Mobile Tech Workshop for Older Adults: Rideshare and Parking Apps


126 E Chestnut St, Chicago, IL 60611
773.248.8700

Community Partners

Contact Us

If you want to host a digital literacy event for older adults in your community or collaborate with us, please email our ENCODE Project Coordinator, Nina Sakhnini, at nsakhn2@uic.edu.

Funding

Human Subject Research

This research study is approved by the UIC Institutional Review Board (IRB), STUDY 2023-1319.