Three seniors with their smartphones sitting on a sofa

Users’ stories: an Italian tripartite experience

Three Italian members of AGE Platform, the representatives of FAP Credito (Mr. F. Catenaccio), Università delle Tre Età (Mrs. M. Ruffino), and Lavoro Over 40 (Mr. G. Zaffarano) have shared their views with respect to their relationship with technologies.

It emerged quickly that the three interviewees are rather technology-savvy! Once asked about the type of technology they use in their daily lives, they all replied to be acquainted with smartphones, digital TV, tablets, ATM machines … To the point that they sometimes help some colleagues or relatives experiencing problems: they are an example showing that we should not be afraid of technology when ageing!

It soon appeared though that personalization of technology is another story. Although regular users of smartphone, tablets and computers, our three interviewed persons stated not to surf the Internet via preferred websites or to perform other kind of personalization to their tools: besides the personal password to login to their phone or computer, the only personalization that can occur is the zoom to better adapt the size of what they read to their needs.

The chapter on personal experiences has been one of the richest. When asked to report about faced barriers when interacting with a device, a set of funny experiences came up: from the impossibility to access the computer, to the blocked cursor, from the non-responding WhatsApp application to the total black-out of the screen.

In these occasions they quite unanimously reported that “it was not a problem related to the person, but a problem of technology”… of course except when the WhatsApp application is not responding because the data connection is not enabled. And of course sometimes it is a matter of misunderstanding of the commands… through these explanations, though the feeling is that it may be more an issue with the person using the technology than the technology itself!

With respect to ATM machines in particular, one interviewee reported that he found it was a very good idea to better shape the entrance point of the card, so to allow the users to insert and withdraw his/her card in the smoother possible way.

When asked about their relationship with assistive technologies, the three interviewees reported using integrated systems but it happens sometimes that they forget where they place connecting cables (and they appreciate a lot the Wi-Fi for this), they forget passwords (which are rather a nightmare for all of them) and they forget as well to make back-ups of their documents and files.

Needless to say: for non-digital natives technologies can still have some secrets, but this does not prevent them from benefiting from these technologies at their own pace.