Studying Exploration & Long-Term Use of Voice Assistants by Older Adults

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Pooja Upadhyay, Sharon Heung, Shiri Azenkot, and Robin Brewer. 2023. Studying Exploration & Long-Term Use of Voice Assistants by Older Adults. In Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’23), April 23–28, 2023, Hamburg, Germany. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 11 pages.


While past research has examined older adults’ voice assistant (VA) use, it is unclear whether VAs provide enough value to sustain use when compared to technologies such as smartphones. Research also suggests that barriers around structured command input may limit use. In order to investigate these gaps in adoption, we conducted interviews with ten older adults in a long-term care community who have adopted Alexa devices for at least one year. Participants learned to use Alexa through a training program that encouraged exploration. They used Alexa to complement their daily routines, improve their mood, engage in cognitively stimulating activities, and support socialization with others. We discuss our findings in the context of prior work, describe strategies to promote VA learning and adoption, and present design recommendations to support aging.