Title: Touchscreen mobile devices and older adults: a usability study

Authors: Tom Page

Addresses: Loughborough Design School, LDS.1.18, Loughborough University, LE11 3TU, UK

Abstract: The increasing advance and use of technology presents challenges for older users and older generations often experience difficulty in using new technology compared with their younger counterparts. The purpose of this work was to investigate how touchscreen devices have affected the usability of interactive consumer products by older adults. This work was conducted with older adults to explore their perceptions of touchscreen interfaces and to understand existing usability issues and barriers to their adoption. The research was conducted with four participants and each was required to carry out common tasks on mobile phones which they were unfamiliar with. It was seen that some older users are frequent users of modern technologies such as touchscreens and find this easier to use than systems which are generally perceived as more 'simple' systems such as keypads on a mobile phone. Technological advances show a change in interface design, making use easier for all users, in particular older people, yet this has not been developed to its full potential and still deters certain users from choosing to use products implementing these technologies. It is recommended that technology developers consider the needs and desires of older adults as a user group.

Keywords: touchscreen devices; usability; older adults; mobile devices; mobile phones; cell phones; interface design; perceptions.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHFE.2014.062550

International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics, 2014 Vol.3 No.1, pp.65 - 85

Received: 22 Dec 2013
Accepted: 10 Apr 2014

Published online: 06 Jun 2014 *

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