Relating computer tasks to existing knowledge to improve accessibility for older adults
Hollinworth, N. and Hwang, F. (2010) Relating computer tasks to existing knowledge to improve accessibility for older adults. In: ASSETS '10: proceedings of the 12th international ACM SIGACCESS conference on computers and accessibility. ACM: the Association for Computing Machinery, New York, USA, pp. 147-154. ISBN 9781605588810
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1145/1878803.1878830
Routine computer tasks are often difficult for older adult computer users to learn and remember. People tend to learn new tasks by relating new concepts to existing knowledge. However, even for 'basic' computer tasks there is little, if any, existing knowledge on which older adults can base their learning. This paper investigates a custom file management interface that was designed to aid discovery and learnability by providing interface objects that are familiar to the user. A study was conducted which examined the differences between older and younger computer users when undertaking routine file management tasks using the standard Windows desktop as compared with the custom interface. Results showed that older adult computer users requested help more than ten times as often as younger users when using a standard windows/mouse configuration, made more mistakes and also required significantly more confirmations than younger users. The custom interface showed improvements over standard Windows/mouse, with fewer confirmations and less help being required. Hence, there is potential for an interface that closely mimics the real world to improve computer accessibility for older adults, aiding self-discovery and learnability.
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