Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Easier-to-hit ‘targets’ could help older people make the most of computers

12.09.2008
Older people could make better use of computers if icons, links and menu headings automatically grew bigger as the cursor moves towards them.

A new University of Reading study has shown that ‘expanding targets’ of this kind, which grow to twice their original size and provide a much larger area to click on, could deliver:

•a 50%+ reduction in the number of mistakes older people make when using a computer mouse to ‘point and click’

•a 13% reduction in the time older people take to select a target

Although the potential advantages of expanding targets are well known in the computing research community, this study was the most comprehensive to date to focus specifically on their benefits for older people. Undertaken as part of the SPARC (Strategic Promotion of Ageing Research Capacity) initiative, the findings will be discussed at this year’s BA Festival of Science in Liverpool. SPARC is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

With age-related changes in their capabilities, many older people can find it extremely challenging to position a cursor accurately using a mouse. In some cases, this may even discourage some people from using computers altogether.

Automatically expanding targets could be introduced through simple changes to software products. They not only have the potential to make it simpler and quicker to use computers but could also play a role in encouraging wider use of computers among older people in general.

This could lead to a greater number of older people shopping and communicating online and accessing web-based information about healthcare services, for instance. It could boost their quality of life and enable continued independent living, especially if their ability to travel declines.

The University of Reading study involved 11 older people with an average age of just over 70. Recruited via Age Concern, these volunteers were asked to perform a series of ‘point and click’ exercises during a 40 minute test session, using a laptop computer and a standard computer mouse. This research studied situations where only one target expands at a time. Further investigations are ongoing to study how target expansion will work in situations where there are multiple targets on the computer screen.

“Using a computer mouse is fundamental to interacting with current computer interfaces”, says Dr Faustina Hwang, who led the research. “The introduction of expanding targets could lead to substantial benefits because older people would feel more confident in their ability to control a mouse and cursor. A computer can be a real lifeline for an older person, particularly if they’re living alone, and expanding targets could help them harness that potential.”

One of Dr Hwang’s PhD students is now investigating the specific difficulties older people experience when trying to double-click a computer mouse – an essential function in opening applications and other key computing functions.

Natasha Richardson | alfa
Further information:
http://www.epsrc.ac.uk

Further reports about: BBSRC EPSRC Physical Sciences SPARC computer mouse computer screen

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Deep Learning predicts hematopoietic stem cell development
21.02.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Sensors embedded in sports equipment could provide real-time analytics to your smartphone
16.02.2017 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>