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Acceptance of information technology and the internet by people aged over fifty in Taiwan.

In 1997, people aged over 60 accounted for 10% of the gross world population, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO, 2000) statistical analysis. Further, it was predicted that this number will reach 22% before 2025. The East-West Center, Honolulu, HI, USA (East-West Center, 2003) noted that throughout Asia, the number of people aged 65 or over is expected to grow dramatically in the next 50 years. For the region as a whole, the population in this age group will increase by 314%, from 207 million in 2000 to 857 million in 2050. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that when 7% of a country's population are aged over 65 it is known as an aging society, and when the percentage of over 65 people rises to 14% the country is known as an aged society (Lin, Lee, & Hsiao, 2008). According to demographic data from the Department of Household Registration in Taiwan (2010), the population aged over 65 has risen from 1.27 million in 1990 to 2.4 million in 2008. People aged 65 and older accounted for 10.43% of the population, categorizing Taiwan as an aging society.

Hawthorn (2007) commented that the aging of the population structure is becoming a common problem worldwide. Aging can be defined as physiological degeneration associated with an increase in age (Hawthorn, 1998, 2007; Kline & Szafran, 1975). Although aging is not a disease, it does result in physiological degeneration in, for example, visual acuity (Cheng, 2001), along with deterioration of memory and response speed. Physiological degeneration can lead to anxiety, a feeling of being unable to cope with daily living, and increased reliance on others. A decline in visual acuity, which starts at around 40 years old, is generally accepted as the earliest-appearing and most obvious characteristic of aging (Hawthorn, 1998; Kline et al., 1992). Researchers (Hawthorn, 1998; Kline & Szafran 1975) have found that physiology in terms of visual acuity, light adaptation, and color recognition influences the use of computers and the Internet. Many existing websites are not suitable for use by people aged over 50 (Payne, 2002; Ryu, Kim, & Lee, 2009) because they are designed without taking into account the visual difficulties experienced by older adults. Hence, if Human Computer Interface designers can improve the visual presentation of websites, those in the older age group will be able to use them more easily (Echt, 2002).

The Research, Development, and Evaluation Commission of the Executive Yuan has implemented the relevant standards and norms of web accessibility services defined in 2002 by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium (Chen, Chen, & Shao, 2006). These standards were developed to support those with physical disabilities using the Internet. Specific network devices were developed, including screen readers, screen amplifiers, special buttons, specialized keyboards, and specialized display devices. The purpose of these devices is to provide operating systems and functions to allow equality for all in Internet usage and accessibility.

According to results gained in previous studies, the main factors causing anxiety in older adults when they use a computer are: (1) lack of computer literacy; (2) perceived lack of computer information and manuals; (3) perceived complexity of computers; and (4) rapidly changing software and hardware (Yi, 2006).

Among the various efforts to understand and predict the processes of user acceptance of information systems, the technology acceptance model (TAM) introduced by Davis (1986) is one of the most widely accepted information technology (IT) models. TAM is an adaptation of the social cognitive theory of reasoned action (TRA; Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975) and its extension, the theory of planned behavior (TPB; Ajzen, 1985), which have been applied to explain and predict user behaviors across a wide range of domains, including various information technologies and systems (Park, Roman, Lee, & Chung, 2009). Park et al. (2009) used TAM to analyze users' acceptance of a digital library system in developing counties. Porter and Donthu (2006) used TAM to explain differences in age, level of education, income, ethnicity, and fideism, as influencing intention to use a network. Chen, Fan, and Farn (2007) also used TAM to analyze the driver's intention to use electronic toll collection systems.

We have used TAM, which has TRA as a theoretical basis, to define the relationship between an individual's behavior and IT usage, as shown in Figure 1 (Davis, Bagozzi, & Warshaw, 1989).

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

TAM can be used to explore the factors that affect behavioral intention to use IT and computer systems and includes two key variables, perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use, that influence the intention to use particular systems (Davis, 1986). Perceived usefulness is defined as the extent to which a person believes that using a system will increase his or her job performance and perceived ease of use refers to the degree to which a person believes that using a particular system will be free of effort (Davis et al., 1989). It is claimed in TAM that actual system use is determined by behavioral intention, which in turn, is determined by a person's attitude toward using the system. Attitude is jointly determined by perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness (Davis et al., 1989). Perceived usefulness has been found to directly influence behavioral intention, while perceived ease of use has been found to have a direct or indirect effect through perceived usefulness on behavioral intention (Davis, 1986; Davis et al., 1989). TAM has been evaluated as not only a powerful and parsimonious model for representing the determinants of system usage, but also a valuable tool for system planning because the system designers have some degree of control over ease of use and usefulness (Taylor & Todd, 1995).

The Current Study

TAM is suitable for analyzing individual acceptance of IT (Tsai, 2002). The following variables were used to analyze technology acceptance (see Figure 2).

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

Independent variables of perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use, as defined above.

Intervening variable of attitude toward use. Based on Fishbein and Ajzen, work attitude toward use was defined as an individual's positive or negative feelings (evaluative affect) about using accessible website systems (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975).

Dependent variable of behavioral intention. According to TAM, we redefined this as the influence of positive or negative attitude about using accessible website systems (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975).

Hypotheses

TAM is used to measure a wide range of individual behaviors and how people come to use and accept a new technology. According to TAM, perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use are primary motivational factors that influence whether a person uses or accepts a new technology. In relation to TAM, perceived usefulness can be defined as the extent to which a person believes that using the technology will produce better outcomes (Davis et al., 1989). If a person perceives a new technology or system as being useful, s/he may have a more positive intention to use or attitude toward this technology or system. Thus, we developed the following hypotheses:

Hypothesis 1: Perceived usefulness will have a positive impact on intention to use IT by people aged over 50.

Hypothesis 2: Perceived usefulness will have a positive impact on attitude of people aged over 50 toward use of IT.

Attitude is a critical determinant of intention to use. Thus, we developed the following hypothesis:

Hypothesis 3: Attitude will have a positive impact on intention to use IT by people aged over 50.

A user is more likely to accept or adopt a new technology or system when s/ he perceives it to be easier to use than other technology (Radner & Rothschild, 1975). Moreover, because effort is a finite resource, perceived ease of use has a positive impact on perceived usefulness because a person requires less effort to understand or learn the new technology or system. Thus, we developed the following hypotheses:

Hypothesis 4: Perceived ease of use will have a positive impact on attitude toward use of IT by people aged over 50.

Hypothesis 5: Perceived ease of use will have a positive impact on perceived usefulness of IT by people aged over 50.

Method

Procedure

The survey was divided into two parts, the first of which concerned basic demographic information including gender, age, and level of education. The second part related to use of IT and was divided into four subsections: 1) perception of ease of use; 2) perception of usefulness and job benefit; 3) attitude toward use; and 4) intention to use. All answers in the second part of the survey were given on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = strongly agree, 2 = somewhat agree, 3 = undecided, 4 = somewhat disagree, 5 = strongly disagree). SPSS version 17.0 was used for statistical analysis.

We selected the Taoyuan Gueishan Township Office webpage http://www.gueishan.gov.tw/English/ because it has the highest priority level (AAA) based on the Accessible Web Development Guidelines developed by the Taiwan government. Moreover, this information platform was likely to be familiar to people in the Taoyuan Gueishan township.

Participants

There have been many different definitions of the term elderly. The Employment Labor and Social Affairs Committee stated that to be considered as elderly an individual must be more than 50 years old. In this study, we adopted that definition. Our target respondents lived in the Loyalty Village Community Care Center in Luguang Community, Kameyama Township, Taoyuan County, and used the Internet at least once per day. The sample included 16 respondents, all of whom provided complete answers to all questions for a response rate of 100%. Respondents' ages ranged between 50 and 76 (M = 59.9). Age distributions are listed in Table 1.

Among the respondents, approximately 44% were male, 56% were female, and most had graduated from college. In terms of frequency of using a computer, 44% had no experience, and 31% used one more than seven times each week. All demographic information is categorized in Table 2.

As shown in Table 3, averages of responses for all measures are higher than 3; the respondents generally had a strong inclination toward using the webpage. The averages of items 5 and 10 are the highest, suggesting that most users think the webpage was easy to use and provided a positive learning experience.

Reliability Analysis

We calculated Cronbach's [alpha] (Cronbach, 1951) for all scales. Guilford (1965) stated that reliability is achieved if the [alpha] value is greater than 0.7. The [alpha] values of all constructs in our study were between 0.871 and 0.927, demonstrating that the reliability of the survey was adequate.

Validity Analysis

Factor analysis was used to test the validity of measures and purge unsuitable items. In other words, the aim was to ensure all constructs correlated with one other.

Factor analysis with varimax rotation was used. A factor loading value greater than 0.5 was used to determine significance. All items converged under the designated factors, establishing convergent and discriminant validity. We used SPSS version 16.0 for factor analysis.

Results and Discussion

We used confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) through a structural equation model to investigate the factors that lead to the use of webpage systems by people aged over 50 (see Figure 3). We expect our results to be useful for web developers when designing websites that conform to the requirements of individuals in the 50+ age group.

[FIGURE 3 OMITTED]

Perceived usefulness and attitude toward use were found to have a positive impact on intention to use the website. The path coefficients were 0.740 (p < .05) and 0.927 (p < .001). Hypotheses 1 and 3 were supported, in line with the results gained by Davis (1986).

Perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use had a significantly positive impact on attitude toward using the website with path coefficients of 0.831 (p < .001) and 0.794 (p < .001), respectively. Hypotheses 2 and 4 were, therefore, supported.

Perceived ease of use was found to have a significant and direct impact on perceived usefulness with a path coefficient of 0.899 (p < .001). Hypothesis 5 was, therefore, supported.

There are several limitations that need to be taken into account. First, we analyzed only two factors accounting for acceptance of IT by older adults. It is likely that there are other factors influencing the behavior toward and intention to use IT. Second, the sample size was small and, therefore, may not be representative of the population aged 50 and over in Taiwan.

References

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DOI 10.2224/sbp.2012.40.4.613

Kevin C. Tseng and Chien-Lung Hsu

Chang Gung University

Yu-Hao Chuang

National Central University

Kevin C. Tseng, Department of Industrial Design, and Chien-Lung Hsu, Department of Information Management, Chang Gung University; Yu-Hao Chuang, Department of Information Management, National Central University.

This work was supported in part by the Chang Gung University grant UARPD3A0141, and in part by grants from the National Science Council of Taiwan, ROC (NSC100-2628-H-182-001-MY3, NSC99-2218-E-182-007, and NSC99-2410-H-182-034).

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to: Chien-Lung Hsu, Department of Information Management, Chang Gung University, No. 259 Wen-Hwa 1st Road, Kwei-Shan, Taoyuan 333, Taiwan, ROC. Email: clhsu@mail.cgu.edu.tw
Table 1. User Age Distributions and Computer Experience

                               Experience

Age                     n    Yes (%)    No (%)

50-54 years old         4      100         0
55-59 years old         4       25        75
60-64 years old         5       40        60
Over 65 years old       3       67        33
Total                  16

Table 2. Demographic Information

Description             Group                  n   Percentage %

Gender                  Male                   7        44
                        Female                 9        56
Level of education      Elementary school      3        19
                        Junior high school     0         0
                        Senior high school     4        25
                        Undergraduate degree   5        31
                        Master's degree        4        25
Frequency of computer   None                   7        44
  use (per week)
                        1-3 times              3        19
                        4-6 times              1         6
                        More than 7 times      5        31
Average length of       Less than 0.5 hours    8        50
  use per session
                        0.5 hours to 1 hour    3        19
                        1 hour to 2 hours      2        13
                        Over 2 hours           3        19
Internet use            Yes                    7        78
                        No                     2        22

Table 3. Descriptive Statistics

                                                          Standard
                                               Average     error

1.    I think the Taoyuan Gueishan Township      4.13       .719
        Office webpage is useful to me
2.    I can acquire relevant knowledge by        4.06       .680
        using the Taoyuan Gueishan Township
        Office webpage
3.    Using the Taoyuan Gueishan Township        3.63       .885
        Office webpage can enhance my
        learning
4.    Using the Taoyuan Gueishan Township        3.63       .957
        Office webpage lets my life become
        easier
5.    It is very easy for me to navigate         4.25       .577
        the Taoyuan Gueishan Township
        Office webpage
6.    It is very convenient to surf the          4.06       .574
        Taoyuan Gueishan Township Office
        webpage
7.    It is very convenient and simple to        3.81       .750
        acquire relevant knowledge on the
        Taoyuan Gueishan Township Office
        webpage
8.    I like using the Taoyuan Gueishan          3.94       .772
        Township Office webpage
9.    Using the Taoyuan Gueishan Township        4.00       .730
        Office webpage is pleasant
10.   Using the Taoyuan Gueishan Township        4.25       .683
        Office webpage to acquire
      knowledge is a positive experience
        for me
11.   I have a positive perception of the        4.06       .772
        Taoyuan Gueishan Township
        Office webpage
12.   I will use the Taoyuan Gueishan            3.69       .793
        Township Office webpage to
        acquire relevant knowledge
        frequently in the future
13.   I would acquire relevant knowledge on      4.06       .772
        the Taoyuan Gueishan Township
        Office webpage if I had the need to
        do so
14.   Overall, I have enjoyed my experience      4.19       .750
        using the Taoyuan Gueishan
        Township Office webpage
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Author:Tseng, Kevin C.; Hsu, Chien-Lung
Publication:Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9TAIW
Date:May 1, 2012
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