Use of intelligent voice assistants by older adults with low technology use

Alisha Pradhan, Amanda Lazar, Leah Findlater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


Voice assistants embodied in smart speakers (e.g., Amazon Echo, Google Home) enable voice-based interaction that does not necessarily rely on expertise with mobile or desktop computing. Hence, these voice assistants offer new opportunities to different populations, including individuals who are not interested or able to use traditional computing devices such as computers and smartphones. To understand how older adults who use technology infrequently perceive and use these voice assistants, we conducted a 3-week field deployment of the Amazon Echo Dot in the homes of seven older adults. While some types of usage dropped over the 3-week period (e.g., playing music), we observed consistent usage for finding online information. Given that much of this information was health-related, this finding emphasizes the need to revisit concerns about credibility of information with this new interaction medium. Although features to support memory (e.g., setting timers, reminders) were initially perceived as useful, the actual usage was unexpectedly low due to reliability concerns. We discuss how these findings apply to other user groups along with design implications and recommendations for future work on voice-user interfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3373759
JournalACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human-Computer Interaction


  • Conversational interfaces
  • Low technology use
  • Older adults
  • Smart speakers
  • Voice assistants


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