Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Martha V. Whetsell

Subject Categories

Databases and Information Systems | Family, Life Course, and Society


instrument development, older adults, theory development, usability


An aging population and the use of technology are two pervasive phenomena that are burgeoning simultaneously. The confluence of these phenomena may present challenges for the older adults that could prevent a successful interface. Barriers and challenges can be addressed by examining the interface between older adults and technology. Usability is described as how well and how easily a user without formal training can interact effectively with the system. A review of the literature shows paucity in nursing theories on usability and the use of technology among older adults. This paper describes the development of a conceptual model - Use of Technology for Adaptation by Older Adults and/or those with Low or Limited Literacy (U.S.A.B.I.L.I.T.Y.) based on diverse theoretical perspectives. The conceptual model attempts to explain and measure the effect of health-related web sites' design on older adults (and those with low or limited literacy) in terms of their ability and desire to use the web sites to gather health information. The conceptual model identifies four determinants of web site usability: (1) perceived control, (2) perceived user experience, (3) efficiency and (4) learnability. Perceived user experience and perceived control determinants examine the user component, whereas efficiency and learnability determinants evaluate the system component, whereas. A U.S.A.B.I.L.I.T.Y. Survey© was developed due to the paucity of well-validated usability questionnaires that measure all of the four determinants of usability in the conceptual model. Panel of experts evaluated the face and content validity of the new survey. A quantitative, descriptive study was conducted to test the internal consistency of the newly developed survey instrument. The study reported that the total-item correlation coefficient of the instrument was 0.96.