Project “Navigating the digital everyday life: Elderly participants’ use of mundane technologies in and for social interaction (DigiLife)”

Couple smiling while looking at a smartphone

Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Florence Oloff

Associated Researcher: Helena Konstanze Budde

Research Assistants: Bennett Schwedt, Matthias Streit

The project "Navigating the digital everyday life: Elderly participants' use of mundane technologies in and for social interaction (DigiLife)" is funded by the Leibniz Association as part of the "Leibniz Programme for Women Professors" (duration 2022-2026). It refers to two important social developments, the increasing ageing of the population and the advancing digitalisation of everyday life. With the help of video recordings and participant observation, the project will investigate the digital skills and practices of elderly participants in relation to mundane digital technologies (such as smartphones, tablets, or computers).

As the project adopts a conversation analytic and multimodal perspective on situated technology use in everyday and institutional settings, the project members will collect video data in Germany and the Czech Republic in three complementary social contexts (sales encounters, adult education, and private conversations). The DigiLife project aims to answer the following questions, among others:

  • How are senior citizens informed and instructed about everyday technologies by experts during sales talks as well as in the context of public educational opportunities? What specific interests or problems of understanding with regard to new technologies come to light?
  • What role do digital devices and media play in the social life and communication habits of elderly participants? How do the elderly exchange information about new technologies and digital skills among peers or in intergenerational encounters?
  • What does the comparison of the different interactional settings and the two languages reveal with regard to different forms of expertise and knowledge transfer? What kind of linguistic or praxeological features of technology use, what kind of socio-cultural differences in technology-based communication can be identified?

The DigiLife project cooperates with researchers from the universities of Freiburg, Münster, Oulu, Zurich, the WU Vienna and the Czech Language Institute in Prague. In addition, a doctoral researcher will be given the opportunity to pursue a doctoral degree as part of the project.

Contact: Dr. Florence Oloff, oloff(at)

Project-related publications: