Tablets for seniors

August 10, 2015, by Bart-Jan van Putten

Tablets are becoming ever more popular among seniors to e.g. communicate with their families, surf the web, view photos and play games. For seniors with little computer experience, standard (Android) tablets are hard to use and may not appear to be useful. Fortunately, several companies are working on special software packages for seniors, which can be installed on top of the operating system or used from within a browser.

This study describes the evaluation of the user experience of five such products: Asina from Germany, Breezie from the United Kingdom, Compaan from The Netherlands, Cubigo from Belgium and SimTab from The Netherlands.

Three tablets for seniors. From left to right: Compaan, Cubigo, Asina.
Tablet software for seniors. From left to right: Compaan, Cubigo, Asina.

We compared the products on the basis of more than 130 criteria. The primary criteria were usefulness, ease of use, support and price. For each of these criteria, a score was calculated based on numerous sub-criteria. Table 1 summarizes the results along the primary criteria.

Weight Tablet A Tablet B Tablet C Tablet D Tablet E
Usefulness 50% 85 50 70 60 40
Ease of use 30% 70 80 75 80 30
Support 20% 60 75 70 60 75
Total 100% 76 (above satisfactory) 64 (above sufficient) 72 (above satisfactory) 66 (above sufficient) 44 (insufficient)
Table 1: Summary of the evaluation, 100 is the best possible score. For the complete results please have a look at the test report.

Some of our recommendations to producers are as follows. Producers can make their products more useful by:

  • Personalizing their products before delivery
  • Enabling users to communicate with outsiders (i.e. do not limit communication to whitelisted people or ‘members’)
  • Making sure that the product can change over time, along with the changing needs of its users

The ease of use of the products is quite good in general, but one thing deserves attention urgently: it should be possible to change the font size in web browsers and news readers.

Producers must improve their support by offering local service in-person. Producers also need to explain more clearly on their websites which support they offer against which fees.

To unlock new revenue streams, providers can integrate telecare and e-health applications, which makes the tablet software more attractive to professional caregivers. Producers can also develop market places with curated products and services for seniors, such as meals-on-wheels, housekeeping and transportation.

The text above is a summary of the test report, which can be ordered through our website.