Comparison of Various Display Representation Formats for Older Adults Using Inlab and Remote Usability Testing

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Virginia Tech

The population of seniors is growing and will continue to increase in the next decade. Computer technology holds the promise of enhancing the quality of life and independence of older people as it may increase their ability to perform a variety of tasks. This is true for elderly. By the year 2030, people age 65 or older will comprise 22% of the population in the United States. As the population shifts so that a greater percentage are middle-aged and older adults, and as dependence on computer technology increases, it becomes more crucial to understand how to design computer displays for these older age groups.

The research has compared various display representation formats to try to find out which is the best way to represent information to seniors in any form of display and the reason for the preferences. The formats compared include high and low density screens for abstract icon representation, concrete icon representation, tabular representation and graphical representation.This research also endeavored to study the effectiveness of remote usability testing as compared to inlab testing for seniors.

Results indicated that density of screen is a very important factor affecting the performance of older adults. Density effect showed statistical significance F (1,112)=8.934, p< .05 from further post-hoc analysis that was conducted. Although significant results were not obtained, different formats of display representations may still be an area worth pursuing. Also it was noted that remote usability testing is not as effective as inlab testing for seniors in terms of time taken to conduct the study and the number of user comments collected. Implications, as well as recommendations and conclusions, of the study are presented.

Graphical, Seniors, Abstract, Displays, Inlab testing, Remote testing, Tabular, Concrete