Using an Aging Simulator Suit for Modeling Visuo-Motor Limitations of Elderly Users Interacting with a Mobile Application: Feasibility Study
With the rapid ageing of the population, designing inclusive mobile interfaces that match accessibility requirements is an important challenge. Here, we report results of an exploratory study, which investigated the feasibility of using an “aging simulator suit” for modeling the sensorimotor limitations of elderly users interacting with a tablet application. The study involved one experimental group (“simulated ageing” condition, SA) and two normative comparison groups (“elderly control” condition, EA; and “young control” condition, YC). In the SA condition, a group of young adults (N = 60; mean age = 26.1, s.d. = 4.0) carried out a visuo-motor task while wearing the aging simulator suit, which reproduced three levels of visuo-motor impairment: (i) visual; (ii) motor; (iii) visual and motor. In the EC condition, the same visuo-motor task was executed by a sample of healthy elderly individuals (N = 20; mean age = 73.5, s.d. = 6.3). In the “young control” (YC) condition, the task was executed by a sample of young adults (N = 40; mean age = 24.6; s.d. = 4.7). Results showed that accuracy and speed of YC outperformed performance of EC and SA. Furthermore, SA approximated EC performance, suggesting that aging simulator suit may provide a reliable model of visuo-motor limitations of the normative-aged group. Implications of these findings for design practice are discussed.
KeywordsInclusive design Accessibility Aging simulator suit Visuo-motor limitation Mobile applications
This work was partially supported by the MIUR grant CTN01-00128-297089 Design4All and by the MDS grant Frail-VR (PE-2013-02355948).
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