Learning touchscreen use for older adults

I often encounter older adults who are having difficulty using a new tablet or device that their child or grandchild has placed in their hands. For those who haven’t used a computer before, the technology can seem daunting and strange. For those who have used computers before, moving from the mouse based system to a touchscreen is a challenge. In my experience, the process is actually MORE challenging for the ones who have used a computer before, than the ones who haven’t. Tablet systems simply don’t behave in the same way, and retraining skills is often harder than learning new ones. Unfortunately, the most use of touchscreens any of these individuals has ever had is at airports and malls – screens that are pressure (not capacitance) based and require force to activate – the techniques just aren’t the same!

I am going to be starting a series of posts about teaching the basic functions of tablet use. I find that a simple game based approach is the best for teaching skills, so I’ll be talking about different games that will help reinforce learning. I’ll focus primarily on iOS, but many of the games are also available on Android. I’ll try to provide a link to the android version if it is available.

The plan is to start with the ‘easy’ gestures  like tap, swipe/flick and slide/drag, before moving on to some of the harder ones – pinch and zoom.

There are some variations on these gestures that I’ll refer to, although they are tougher to find games related to them. These may include tap and hold (useful for deleting/closing apps), and scroll (a version of swipe/drag).

I’d love to hear feedback on what other skills could be useful, let me know in the comments below!

Happy Thursday!



Interested in learning more? We’ve kept this series going, and you can find the post on learning a simple ‘tap’ here, and our post on learning to ‘tap and hold’ here!




Posted in: Tech Education

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