Abstract

Older people often struggle with using contemporary products and interfaces. They show slower, less intuitive interaction with more errors. This paper reports on a large project designed to investigate why older people have these difficulties and what strategies could be used to mitigate them. The project team found that older people are less familiar with products that they own than younger ones, while both older and middle aged people are less familiar with products that they do not own than younger ones. Age-related cognitive decline is also related to slower and less intuitive performance with contemporary products and interfaces. Therefore, the reasons behind the problems that older people demonstrate with contemporary technologies involve a mix of familiarity and capability. Redundancy applied to an interface in the form of symbols and words is helpful for middle aged and younger old people but the oldest age group performed better with a words only interface. Also, older people showed faster and more intuitive use with a flat interface than a nested one, although there was no difference in errors. Further work is ongoing in order to establish ways in which these findings can be usefully applied in the design process.

Keywords

intuitive interaction, older people, observational analysis

COinS
 
Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Intuitive Interaction and Older People

Older people often struggle with using contemporary products and interfaces. They show slower, less intuitive interaction with more errors. This paper reports on a large project designed to investigate why older people have these difficulties and what strategies could be used to mitigate them. The project team found that older people are less familiar with products that they own than younger ones, while both older and middle aged people are less familiar with products that they do not own than younger ones. Age-related cognitive decline is also related to slower and less intuitive performance with contemporary products and interfaces. Therefore, the reasons behind the problems that older people demonstrate with contemporary technologies involve a mix of familiarity and capability. Redundancy applied to an interface in the form of symbols and words is helpful for middle aged and younger old people but the oldest age group performed better with a words only interface. Also, older people showed faster and more intuitive use with a flat interface than a nested one, although there was no difference in errors. Further work is ongoing in order to establish ways in which these findings can be usefully applied in the design process.

 

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