Related Work

Talking about already existing research works, some of them tried to address a usefulness of touchscreen over the traditional computer systems [4], [19]. They also tried to compare older adults’ behavior with the younger one. While older adults were significantly slower than younger adults in general, the touchscreen reduced this performance gap relative to the desktop and mouse. Indeed, the touchscreen resulted in a significant movement time reduction of 35% over the mouse for older adults, compared to only 16% for younger adults. Error rates also decreased [4]. Thus, it is worth to work on touch screens for elderly users.

About ICT, there are a couple of papers [16] and [25], worked on studying old people’s behavior with mobile communication & social applications, but they showed a probability of variation in the results according to culture and values of the persons. Now, a study can be carried out with more than one culture folks. The work points out that the ways in which seniors attend to ICT are not simply shaped by changes in health or other well-being, but also by their life attitudes, value systems, and relationships to younger generations as well as historical specifics during their coming of age.

Furthermore, other studies have been performed an evaluation of the touchscreens user interaction gestures like sliding, swabbing, pointing, crossing, steering, and drag-and-drop as well as pinching [4, 5, 7, and 10]. During evaluating 24 older adults the number of errors for two levels of accuracy required for positioning the puzzle pieces: 95% (higher) and 80% (lower). Older adults made fewer errors of accuracy during lower accuracy levels and consequently fewer supplementary gestures for positioning the targets [10]. Moreover, in one research paper the age-related concept ‘computer literacy’ was found to be the most common motivational barrier. The study showed that the App could be difficult for older adults to use due to its unclear interface elements, lack of feedback and forgiveness, and unnatural navigation structure [8].

While working for text-entry touch screen evolution, a study found that similar and symmetrical letters result in cognitive errors. During their user study with elderly participants, they found that forgetting to enter a blank space between words was a common issue [2]. Furthermore, unintentional touches prevented key presses. While omission errors may be related to cognitive errors. Particularly, unintentional touches occurred when participants were holding or resting their non-dominant hand on the device. These behaviors resulted in unrecognized key presses since the keyboard only handled a single input point [2]. The low visibility of the visual feedback seemed to make these problems even worse, since a dynamic change of the target color was often obscured by the finger when tapping a small (30-pixel) target [7]. The users were often confused due to unclear instructions. A typical gesture-based interface on a touchscreen lacks textual labels and menus to show “what is possible with this application”. It also provides few explicit instructions for each gesture. Even though an interface was carefully designed so that it was natural and intuitive for users to control many of its functions [7]. Though the participants were experienced PC users and familiar with standard QWERTY keyboards, they often could not find the backspace and shift keys on the software keyboard because those keys did not have the textual labels “Backspace” and “Shift”. The participants frequently lost track of their current mode, especially when another mode had a similar look-and-feel. One participant explicitly complained that there was no textual indication of the current mode. A week’s practice significantly improved the performance in dragging and pinching but did not significantly affect tapping [7].

Most of the studies provide substantial design recommendation, but only a few studies have designed some support to help older adults with difficulties to accomplish interaction [10]. By implementing those recommendations in existing successful smartphone application of communication & social category will solve problems of elderly of being social on mobile.