Tactical Advice

Do iPads Make Reading Easier for Seniors?

New research points to the advantages of reading on backlit electronic devices rather than paper.
Do iPads Make Reading Easier for Seniors?
Credit: iStockphoto/ThinkStockPhotos

The benefits of using tablets in education have been touted loudly for the past few years, but new evidence indicates that iPads, specifically, could also be beneficial for senior citizens.

According to a small German study published in PLOS ONE, people aged 60 to 77 were able to read material 2.5 seconds faster on an iPad than on paper, reports NBC News. Why iPads specifically and not tablets in general? The backlight makes a difference.

Traditional e-readers were no help: Reading a short page of text on a Kindle took the older group about 28 seconds, the longest of the three. Switching to the printed book shaved 1.5 seconds off the time. But reading on an iPad took just 24 seconds, that's 2.5 seconds faster than reading on paper. While that may not represent a big timesaver when skimming news headlines, it could save hours reading War and Peace.

The researchers concluded that the iPad's backlighting, which was adjusted to the brightest setting, made the difference. All tablets use backlighting, while e-readers use what's called an E Ink display that provides less contrast than a brighter tablet.

Reading speeds for tablets versus books

There are, of course, other advantages to eReaders that use E Ink displays: They’re easier to read in the sunlight and they use less energy. But now tablets have one more notch under their belt: They can help senior citizens get through their favorite novels that much faster.

Which makes Elaine Amsterdam Farley’s anti-digital library rant somewhat humorous.

"I do not use a computer. I have many friends who are elderly who do not use a computer and the idea that there would no longer be libraries and books to read, which I just heard on the radio station, is outrageous. How're you gonna crawl in bed and hold a computer for criminy's sake? You go to bed with a good book!” she exclaimed in a comment to NPR’s Marketplace about its report on libraries ditching paper-based reading material for iPads and eReaders.

If she embraced her e-future, she could probably read more books than ever.

Sign up for our e-newsletter

About the Author

Ricky Ribeiro

Online Content Manager

Ricky publishes and manages the content on BizTech magazine's web site. He's a writer, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all-around digital guy. You can learn more by following him on Google+ or Twitter:

Security

Securing the Internet of Thi... |
As excitement around the connected-device future grows, technology vendors seek ways to...
Tools to Maintain Mobile Sec... |
Far-flung devices pose serious challenges, but a variety of technologies can help protect...
Edward Snowden Personifies t... |
The NSA leak shows critical areas where organizations can better protect their data.

Storage

The New Backup Utility Proce... |
Just getting used to the Windows 8 workflow? Prepare for a change.
How to Perform Traditional W... |
With previous versions going unused, Microsoft radically reimagined the backup utility in...
5 Easy Ways to Build a Bette... |
While large enterprises have the resources of an entire IT department behind them, these...

Infrastructure Optimization

The Value of Converged Infra... |
Improvements in security, management and efficiency are just a few of the benefits CI can...
Curse Builds a Private Cloud... |
One of the top resources in online gaming builds out a robust infrastructure that can...
SDN at the Forefront of HP’s... |
Computing giant kicks off Interop 2014 with a series of announcements aimed at turning...

Networking

Securing the Internet of Thi... |
As excitement around the connected-device future grows, technology vendors seek ways to...
How to Maximize WAN Bandwidt... |
Understand six common problems that plague wide area networks — and how to address them.
Linksys Makes a Comeback in... |
The networking vendor introduced several new Smart Switch products at Interop this week.

Mobile & Wireless

Now that Office for iPad Is... |
After waiting awhile for Microsoft’s productivity suite to arrive, professionals who use...
Visualization Can Help Busin... |
Companies need to put their data in formats that make it consumable anytime, anywhere.
Linksys Makes a Comeback in... |
The networking vendor introduced several new Smart Switch products at Interop this week.

Hardware & Software

Visualization Can Help Busin... |
Companies need to put their data in formats that make it consumable anytime, anywhere.
The Tools That Power Busines... |
Ever-evolving analytic software can greatly improve financial institutions’ decision-...
XP-iration Date: Today Is th... |
It’s officially lights out for Windows XP as an operating system. Here’s how the world is...