Older User Requirements for Location Based Services

Older Users’ Requirements for Location Based Services and Mobile Phones

Zaheer Osman, Martin Maguire and Mikko Tarkiainen

Ergonomics and Safety Research Institute, Loughborough University, Holywell Building, Holywell Way, Loughborough, UK  LE11 3UZ

Tel: +44 01509 283 300

{z.osman, m.c.maguire}@lboro.ac.uk  mikko.tarkiainen@vtt.fi

Abstract.   It is important that studies are carried out to enable developers of new products and services to take into consideration the requirements of the older population and work towards an inclusive design.  This paper presents two studies carried out to determine the attitudes and requirements of older users towards location based services and their needs for mobile phone functions and features.  The resulting implications and benefits for the developers of future products and services are briefly discussed.


Technological advances are occurring at a more rapid pace than ever before and have allowed the development of evermore sophisticated and ubiquitous products and services.  In order for technology and services to be successful, they need to be embraced by the population.  An example of this is the mobile phone which is now a commonly owned device.  Location based services (LBS) are services in which the location of a person or an object is used to shape or focus the application or service (Duri 2001). According to a new report from ARC Group[1], LBS will account for over 40% of operators’ mobile data services revenues in 2007,


It is apparent that people in modern day society are living longer compared to their predecessors.  This is leading to an increased number of “Third Agers” (people 55 years and over).  Coleman (2001) estimated that by the year 2020 almost half the adult population in the UK would be over 50 years of age.  If products and services do not include this age group in their development processes then market exploitation will be adversely affected.    Meeting the requirements of the older and younger age groups can be achieved by taking an inclusive design approach.  Hardie and Plaice (1991) defined inclusive design as “an approach to creating environments and products that are usable by all people to the greatest extent possible”.  A question that needs answering is whether the developers of products and services are taking the rapidly growing older population into consideration.  This paper is an initial attempt to address this need for LBS and mobile phones.

[1]  ARC Group Press Release, LONDON, 19 August 2002 http://www.arcgroup.com/index.html


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Older User Requirements for Location Based Services