An Age-Old Problem: Examining the Discourses of Ageing in HCI and Strategies for Future Research

John Vines, Gary Pritchard, Peter Wright, Patrick Olivier, Katie Brittain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ageing has become a significant area of interest in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) in recent years. In this article we provide a critical analysis of 30 years of ageing research published across the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI) community. Discourse analysis of the content of 644 archival papers highlights how ageing is typically framed as a “problem” that can be managed by technology. We highlight how ageing is typically defined through an emphasis on the economic and societal impact of health and care needs of older people, concerns around socialisation as people age, and declines in abilities and associated reductions in performance when using technology. We draw from research within the fields of social and critical gerontology to highlight how these discourses in SIGCHI literature represent common stereotypes around old age that have also prevailed in the wider literature in gerontology. We conclude by proposing strategies for future research at the intersection of ageing and HCI.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Number of pages27
JournalACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction
Issue number1
Early online date17 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


  • discourse analysis
  • Ageing
  • social gerontology
  • older people
  • critical reflection


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