Cell phone feature preferences among older adults : A paired comparison study

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationGerontechnology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


Purpose: Product features can meet particular customer needs and are important sources of benefits received when a product is purchased and used1. Previous studies have found that cell phone feature preferences are different for gender and age groups2,3. Industrial designers and manufacturers need to consider individual differences in preferences when designing and marketing a product to a specific user group. Cell phone usage by seniors is increasing, but there has been little research concerning preferences among older people for cell phone features. The purpose of this study is to determine a ranking of importance of cell phone features among elderly users. Method: Paired comparison was used to prioritize cell phone features. Administering this method is easy and fast, and it provides a straightforward way to compare choices and determine a preference order4,5. Eight cell phone features, identified from a pilot study6, were compared in pairs by 42 participants. All the participants were aged 60 to 80 years and with more than five years of experience in cell phone usage. Each participant was asked to make 28 pairwise comparisons and express a preference on a paper-format questionnaire, giving a total of 1,176 responses. Results & Discussion: Mean orders of preference rating from lowest to highest are shown in Table 1. As expected, the most preferred feature for the elderly is the calling feature. These are followed in preference by the phone book feature, clock, emergency button, alarm, camera, and calculator. The least preferred feature is the short message service (SMS), which differs from the finding for young people3, for whom SMS is the favorite feature after calling. It is noted that features requiring less mental effort to perform are more appealing to the participants. Based on the results of this study, features desired by specific customer groups need to be given priority in product design and marketing in order to enhance product attractiveness and usability.

Research Area(s)

  • Cell phone features, Communication & governance, Paired comparison