54 Usability Research for the Elderly People


Due to the aging population increase, the concern for the elderly assistances of each equipment becomes to be necessary. Steps so far taken to assist the aging population have often been limited to visual considerations, such as stronger contrasts or larger characters on the displays and printing, or such physical characteristics as the ease for pressing buttons. However, the issues associated with usability and understandability, such as their inability to understand the procedures for fund transfers on ATMs (automatic teller machines) is not unfortunately enough. Even if an elderly person is able to read the characters displayed on a screen, it is not possible for that person to use the equipment if he or she does not understand what the display means. In other words, in order to provide equipment that is easy for the elderly to use, it is important to consider not only the perceptive (senses, such as vision or hearing) and physical characteristics, but a comprehensive consideration including cognitive characteristics*1) should also be taken into account. In experimental cognitive psychology, which studies the cognitive characteristics of humans, deterioration in capacity, such as reaction time (example: Information processing speed), attention (example: Attention is influenced by the unnecessary information) and memory (example: Necessary memory capacity to perform a task), were found because of the aging. On the other hand, the kind of problems arising from the use of equipment due to these changes is still unclear. For this reason, Oki Electric has been conducting “usability tests” (surveying the usability of equipment operations) with the participation of elderly people, for a comprehensive study of the effects of cognitive aging (changes in cognitive characteristics due to aging) and the behavioral characteristics of the elderly. Further study is ongoing to sort out the characteristics of the elderly from these results and determine the kind of considerations necessary for using the results for specific products. This paper introduces centering on usability experiments using ATMs.

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Akatsu200354UR, title={54 Usability Research for the Elderly People}, author={Hiroko Akatsu and Hiroyuki Miki}, year={2003} }