Young by Design: Supporting Older Adults’ Mobility and Home Technology Use through Universal Design and Instruction

  • Michael Sengpiel
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6767)


The dominance of computer technology in work and leisure poses particular challenges for older people. Specifically, their lack of computer literacy impedes their ability to explore and use new interactive systems. To investigate the effect of computer literacy and two approaches to compensate a lack thereof, 62 older (M=68 years) and 62 younger (M=25 years) participants were split evenly into three groups: the video group watched a brief instructional video immediately prior to solving eleven tasks using a simulated ticket vending machine, while the control group did not and the wizard group used a redesigned wizard interface instead of the original simulated ticket vending machine to solve the same eleven tasks. Results indicate that both age groups benefited from watching the video, while older adults benefited more, so much so, that they were as effective as the younger non-video group. For the wizard condition age differences were practically eliminated. Particularly efficacy and satisfaction of the older group increased substantially. This result suggests that the careful design and integration of minimal instructions or wizards into interactive devices could contribute to maintain independent living and societal integration for older people.


Human-computer interaction universal design computer literacy video instruction ticket vending machine design for all interaction knowledge 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Sengpiel
    • 1
  1. 1.Humboldt-University BerlinBerlinGermany

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