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Interface Design for the 90 year old Elderly PC724 Principle of Interaction Design Jinisha Gajjar - 201114007

PC724 – Principles of Interaction Design Interface Design for the 90 year old Elderly Submitted by Jinisha Gajjar Student ID No. 201114007

Abstract All-in-one Desktops have the potential to support older adults in their everyday lives. However, desktops must be adopted to provide these benefits. Research suggests that must be perceived as useable and useful to be adopted. The goal of this study is to explore older adult’s perceptions regarding the usability and usefulness of computers and to understand their preferences regarding the design and content of computers. Technology has the potential to improve the quality of life of older adults and to provide support for age-associated declines. We conducted focus groups to better understand the needs and preferences of older adults concerning technology and technology training. Our goal is to gather information about older adults’ experiences with technology in their everyday lives to provide a basis for research to examine potential technology design and training improvements. We found that older adults are using a wide variety of technologies, particularly in their homes. Moreover, older adults reported more likes than dislike of technology. The most frequent reasons provided for liking technology included convenience, features, and support for activities. The most frequent reasons reported for disliking technology included inconvenience and concerns about security and reliability. The likes and dislikes of older adults can be used by designers to make technologies that are more apt to meet the needs and preferences of older adults thereby making technology adoption more likely.

Purpose of this Document This is a record of the design process undertaken for the development of icons and an interface of the FriendsConnect application for a user group of 90+ individuals. The document details the initial design brief, need for design and the agreed upon design

goals and constraints of the project. Based on an analysis of existing applications and user scenarios, several suggestions for improving the usability of the application have been made in this document. The process and rationale behind the choice of icons, the design of the proposed interface and modification undertaken in the same have also been documented.

1. Design Brief FriendsConnect is a computer based application which comes in all-in-one-desktops and touchpad’s for users of the age group of 90 year and above. This application enables users to keep in touch with friends and family over the internet, by a single window interface to send and receive emails, engage in text chat, and make telephone or video calls over the internet with the help of webcam, speakers and microphone. Icons need to be developed for each of these activities namely: 1. Email 2. Text Chat 3. Telephone / Voice Chat 4. Video Chat 5. Contacts / Phonebook 6. Internet connectivity status We have to keep in mind some points for designing the interface by using these icons: 1. Visibility 2. Easy functioning 3. Complex process should run in the background. This device has an in built application is targeted at touchpad’s and touch-screens users which come with inbuilt Bluetooth, Wireless Modem, webcam and microphone. 2. Need for Design and designer There are various reasons why the existing system just doesn’t stand up when the end users come from a different age group. There are several issues which makes it difficult for them to interact with the system. The primary reasons could be their age,

eyesight, promptness, etc. However, when it comes to reconnect with their friends, family via e-mail, chat, voice and video call the basic expectation is to come up with design that makes their user experience a pleasurable one. The interface had to be redesigned for this specific purpose; reduce the complexity of the system so they don’t have to stress their eyes or do they useless typing stuff rather get to business at once. Here an icon is a picture or symbol used to represent a tool or function that can be performed on computer and mobile phone applications. Icons provide an intuitive understanding of the tools or functions of that application. A good icon is selfexplanatory and the text at the bottom serves as a confirmation of what is already understood. To develop an icon requires an understanding of the detailed meanings of objects, and how users derive meaning from images. Icons need to be simple, scalable and nonverbal; they should be recognizable across languages and cultures. Within an icon set, all the icons need to be stylishly similar but each icon should be individually different without unnecessary elements. Often an icon may stand for two different things to two different people, and this needs to be avoided. In the case of FriendsConnect, the icons need to be sufficiently large to be seen easily and recognizable to a group with poor eyesight who while able to operate an all-in-one desktop, open applications and connect to the internet does not necessarily have any exposure to recognized conventions of internet communication that younger users may find self-evident. The group is unable to deal with simple technical snags but is familiar with older devices such as cordless telephones, radios and television sets.

3. Design Goals The goal of the icon set is creating an Intuitive Understanding and makes it consistent, scalable and portable. Keep away the complexity of the applications and make an easy environment for the user.

4. Design Constraints Users will have limited familiarity with computer applications and internet based communication. They have weak eye sight and an inability to read and recognize small fonts and icons. There are possibilities where users might have reduced sensitivity to make differences in colour and slight impairment of motor skills. Hearing and speech problems must also be taken into account. The user may also experience difficulty with memory, ability to put names to faces etc.

5. Beneficiaries In designing for the age group of 90 and above, the threshold of tolerance for icon interpretation and interface usage has been lowered to make the entire application user friendly, intuitive and responsive to human needs, which will be appreciated not just by the target user group but by other user groups who are also unfamiliar with current computer based communications applications and find them slightly intimidating and difficult to interact with.

Different sizes of Icons 24px






Scenario 1: Sending an email Mrs. F son has already created an email account for her and provided her with the login id and password, which she has kept safely written on a piece of her cupboard. Some important and frequent contacts have been added to contacts list. Reading the messages from inbox is simple and she can easily compose messages through speech or use templates available in this application.

With the speech tool she can say the name of the recipient and send an email. There is another addition of drafts. The message will be saved in drafts folder after 1 min automatically. When an email is sent after that a prompt message is shown to save the new contact in the address book for future use. Mostly she decides to save it for future use. Some functions are barely used due complexity levels in it. Functions like folders are not used. All mail to be deleted is moved to Trash, but trash can is never manually emptied. This is spam is an un-understandable button, as is the Move to folder drop down list and Move button. All email sits in the inbox. The difference between Trash and Junk is blurred. Search mail function is not used – rather mails are searched manually page by page. All other functions like POP3 mail, instant messenger, SMS, Feeds and Calendar functions are not used. The user sticks to only that which is known – and does not explore other functions for fear of error and inability to recover from same.

Task flow diagram of sending an email from a typical email application

Scenario 2: Starting a Chat Session Due to constant force from her family, Mrs. F started using chat session on her Gmail account, so that she can use its inbuilt chat facility as most of her family members have Gmail accounts. Initially she faced some difficulty in using functions of it but now she is mastered using it. The account has been opened for her by one of her children, and again as before, all addresses and contacts have been loaded for her. Also all invites for chat have been sent and accepted. The Gtalk tool bar on the left of the screen, is very easy for her to navigate, and offers her the choice of chat and email with online friends. She sometimes has difficulty in recognizing nicknames or screen names used by certain people, but the photos that appear along with the name are helpful, if very tiny.

Task flow diagram of Voip/Video chat

Scenario 3: Making a Video Call / Audio Call

Mrs. F first experience with video and audio calling was very satisfying. Her son was home, and had set up a Skype account for her on the home computer. Video calls to family had already been confirmed for a particular hour, and once the connection was established, she was delighted at how effortlessly she could see and talk to the person she called. The video reception was clear and it was good to see the people one was talking to. She is enthusiastic about using video and audio calling especially to talk to loved ones living abroad as it is quite simple to use, after all the connections have been added, and it is much cheaper than international telephone calls. For talking with family members living in India she prefers telephone calls.

Task flow diagram for a chat session

6. Using the design templates CD

The templates CD contains Adobe Photoshop file in which each of the layouts and elements or icons placed in a different appropriately named layer. The PPT file shows the various screen layouts while performing different functions.

Interface Design for Elderly  
Interface Design for Elderly  

A classroom project to design an Interface design for the 90 year old elderly.