Research Plan

Detailed Research Plan

User Profile: Senior citizens belong to an age range of 60 or more, who owns smartphones, their memory, and eyesight level may vary (visual and cognitive capabilities) but they do not have any physical disabilities.

The study will be carried out in the multiple phases as shown below in table 1. During the initial weeks, the analysis and evaluation of the current communication & social networking applications will be carried out based on the usability guidelines for the elder. There is a chosen set of most used applications for both popular platforms (iPhone, android) [26, 27]: WhatsApp, Messenger, Snapchat, Skype, Google Hangout, Facebook, WeChat, Kik, Instagram. For evaluating application’s usability, a survey will be conducted to deliver the idea of which application from these set is the most used by elderly users and why. After this phase, the selected applications will be analyzed according to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) [30] as well as compared with the survey results. This will help in selecting of the most “improvement needy” (having the highest number of accessibility violations) smartphone application. Also, previous procedure will provide enough UI interaction issues to target such as buttons, headers, labels, size, spacing, and input interactions. The reason for listing these all components is according to previous studies these all are the most important components of accessible user interface interaction [10]. Then, the UI redesign process will begin to solve those user interface interaction accessibility issues.

Now, the next phase will consist finishing the search of around 15 users fit user profile, who are ready to voluntarily support this project. The user should fit as described above in user profile criteria. The user study will be in English language, so person must be able to understand and speak English language. Before starting user test a person will go under visual and cognitive screening, which may last approximately for 15 minutes. Moreover, all participants will be provided written informed consent as well as instructions. The cognitive test will be based on an abbreviated version of the Folstein Mini-Mental State Examination, where participants were only asked to complete the whole measure if they made an error on the initial orientation, calculation or attention questions [28, 29]. Then, participants will be asked about their visual health to get visual ability information. To consolidate that data a person will be asked to pass through a short vision test [30] which is available on a website for free. Then, testing shall be done with both of the application UI, 1) existing app 2) recommended prototype. The user interaction will be recorded and an experience feedback will be taken. For both applications written tasks will be provided and a taken time, faced difficulties, made mistakes, confusing functions, etc. will be recorded; whereas the feedback will help to know about user experience and satisfaction. In the 13th week the time will be spent on analyzing those results with comparison and coming up with conclusion. This will prove how effective is a solution? What errors did it correct? The formal writing and presentation will happen in the last three weeks. The successfully proven prototype will provide guideline to develop accessible user interface design for elderly.

To get done this study on a time and in an organized way, the schedule as below will be followed:

Table.1: Timeline (January 23 to May 12)

Task Duration
Creating survey and collecting user experience of applications Week 1
Analyze current communication & social app and evaluate them based on the usability guidelines for the elder & start networking for user test participants Week 2, 3
Choosing the existing the most famous smartphone communication application (with high number of users & elderly usability issues) Week 4
Implement chosen techniques of user interface & interaction design with prototyping Week 5, 6
Finish-up prototyping UI & complete participant search for user test Week 7, 8
Perform usability testing with real target audience test with existing app and proposed/recommended application prototype Week 9, 10, 11, 12
Analyzing, Comparing and Concluding results Week 13
Formatting final documented results and research paper/project Week 14, 15
Prepare for a Poster & Presentation Week 16