Granny gets smarter but Junior hardly notices

  • Renette Blignaut University of Western Cape, South Africa
  • Isabella Margarethe Venter University of the Western Cape
  • Karen Renaud University of Glasgow
Keywords: Access, Learning


To ensure that university computing students are sensitized to the needs of diverse user groups, a course project was designed to allow students to get a realistic understanding of the needs and abilities of the older mobile phone user. Over a three year period different student cohorts interviewed these users to assess their experience with mobile phones. It was found that students were generally dismissive of the cognitive abilities of the older mobile phone user. However the yearly snapshot revealed that the older user’s abilities improved year on year. Being prepared to understand all user groups is an essential skill that should be acquired by future interface designers.

Author Biographies

Isabella Margarethe Venter, University of the Western Cape

Isabella Venter, professor in Computer Science, University of the Western Cape, South Africa. Research interests include: computer science education, human computer interaction and information communication technologies for development.
Karen Renaud, University of Glasgow

Karen Renaud, senior lecturer in Computing Science, University of Glasgow, Scotland.  Research interests include: usable security, e-mail usage in organisations, mobile phone design for the elderly and electronic voting.
How to Cite
Blignaut, R., Venter, I., & Renaud, K. (2016). Granny gets smarter but Junior hardly notices. The Journal of Community Informatics, 12(3). Retrieved from