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Impact of Aging on Smart Phone ­se to Be Examined

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Seniors using smartphones.


The University of Strathclyde's Mark Dunlop is launching a project to study the effects of aging on the use of smartphones and other touchscreen mobile devices.

Dunlop says the research should provide helpful data on the challenges older people will face as they continue to use mobile technology for work, social, and lifestyle activities, and as the U.K. government seeks to provide more services via the mobile channel.

A decline in hearing, sight, working memory, selective attention, or motor control can interfere with the use of mobile technology. Initial studies have revealed that older people may be more willing to adopt new keyboard layouts and technologies than younger people, Dunlop says.

His team will test older adults on different forms of touchscreen entry methods, as well as examine how the design features of current devices impact text entry. "The project is also likely to give initial insights into the needs of other specific groups of people that could be taken up with future research, for example looking at systems to support tremor problems associated with Parkinson's disease, or for highly-visible keyboards for visually-impaired people," Dunlop notes.

From University of Strathclyde
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