Assessing the usefulness of software tools for aiding meaningful access of Internet health information by older users
Quality of Life
Spinal Cord Injuries
Consumers are increasingly using the Internet as a source of health information. Older users in particular, who generally have more health-related issues to contend with, can stand to benefit greatly from the vast resources of health information that the Internet can provide. However, finding, integrating, and making sense of such information in support of health management can be challenging for these users, especially in the face of age-related declines in cognitive abilities that are critical for Internet health information seeking. In this study, data from three focus groups comprised of 23 Internet users 65 years of age or older were collected to investigate the potential usefulness of four software tools that, in principle, offer the capability for aiding such users in their Internet health information search and decisionmaking activities. The data revealed both positive features and concerns with these tools. Overall, these data provided valuable guidance for an initial phase of design interventions directed at making these tools more usable and effective for supporting Internet healthinformation seeking for older users, and in the process for other users as well. Copyright 2012 by Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Inc. All rights reserved.