Online shopping for seniors

Master Thesis Research Project: August to December, 2015

Is it possible to create a combination of tangible and graphical user interfaces in order to make online shopping for more accessible for senior citizens who can no longer take the daily trip to the super market?

Andreas Ø. Hammer, Andreas L. Andersen, Christoffer R. Schmidt & Martin D. Jensen

B. Sc. IT Product Development, Aarhus University

"Working with the Stibo Accelerator has been a great experience and has opened a lot of opportunities for taking the project to places we didn’t think possible. Networking in the Accelerator is phenomenal, it is very inspiring to be in an environment where everyone is working hard on their research and always willing to discuss new angles of the projects."

Project partners:


We are working with elders’ challenges with daily grocery shopping. As public nursing care face budget cuts, more and more elderly are left to themselves when it comes to handling their shopping. In these times, an increasing number of online grocery shopping websites are popping up, and we wish to examine how to best make these services available to elders who have a hard time walking to the grocery store and carrying their groceries home, or to whom it is completely impossible.

We’ve found that most users in this target audience are behind when it comes to using technology such as computers, tablets and smartphones, on which the current online grocery shopping platforms are available. Therefore, we’re working on making simple interfaces that the elders are able to use. We’re working on two concepts; one which is a mix of GUI and TUI, and another which is an app for tablets.

The project explores:

  • What makes an interface usable? Specifically, when is one kind of interfaces preferred over another kind?

  • Can we use physical objects to create a shopping experience for people who normally reject computer interaction?

  • What makes a Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) suitable and can we simplify a GUI without losing functionality, so that elders will use it?

  • Is it possible to combine a GUI with physical objects to create a Tangible User Interface (TUI) and thereby create a solution which draws on the best parts of both ideas?


We’ve been working closely with staff from nursing homes in Odder Municipality, who gave us a full view of how grocery shopping are currently handled for the elders, and which kind of challenges they face. Three citizens from the city are helping us as test users throughout this entire project. They’re assisting us with feedback on our concepts as well as domain knowledge about the challenges they face and how they solve them.

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