Touch Screens for the Elderly: Some Models and Methods, Prototypical Development and Experimental Evaluation of Human-Computer Interaction Concepts for the Elderly

Touch Screens for the Elderly: Some Models and Methods, Prototypical Development and Experimental Evaluation of Human-Computer Interaction Concepts for the Elderly

Holger Luczak (Aachen University of Technology, Germany), Christopher M. Schlick (Aachen University of Technology, Germany), Nicole Jochems (Aachen University of Technology, Germany), Sebastian Vetter (Aachen University of Technology, Germany) and Bernhard Kausch (Aachen University of Technology, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4422-9.ch019
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Abstract

The fast aging of many western and eastern societies and their increasing reliance on information technology create a compelling need to reconsider older users’ interactions with computers. Changes in perceptual and motor skill capabilities that often accompany the aging process bring important implications for the design of information input devices. This paper summarizes the results of a laboratory study with different information input device. Three different input devices; mouse, touch screen and eye-gaze; were analyzed concerning efficiency, effectiveness and mental workload with respect to the age group of the computer user. The results derived from data of 90 subjects between 20 and 75 years show that regardless of participant’s age group the best performance in terms of short execution time results from touch screen information input. This effect is even more pronounced for the elderly.
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Introduction

Demographic change requires new ergonomic concepts and methods to support elder working persons, who, due to the prognosed shortage of qualified labor, will be involved in achieve employment for a longer working life until retirement.

Especially “Work With Computing Systems” (WWCS), formally “Work with Display Units” (WWDU), will be a major working form that due to automation of working means and a presumably distant attitude of elder employees versus computerized work requires ergonomic attention (Nair et al. 2005, Rogers et al. 1995).

So the use of computers in different contexts may be a barrier of employment for the elder, because a lack of experience and age-dependent changes in performance and strain can be diagnosed which, in itself, is a challenge for ergonomic design efforts in hardware and software (Craik & Salthouse 2008, Czaja & Lee 2002, 2008, Hawthorn 1998, Czaja et al. 1996).

In detail some presumed decreases in sensory as well as motor performance (Craik & Salthouse 2008, Birren & Shaie 2006, Park & Schwarz 2000, Gogging & Stelmach 1990) lead to usability problems in WWCS.

However, models of aging were undergoing some changes in the past (Luczak & Stemann 2008, Luczak & Frenz 2008), especially initiating new views of strategic ergonomic intervention as well as new paths of competency development.

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