Touchscreen Accuracy and Usability for Older Adults: A Comparison of Target Selection Methods
Canada, along with the rest of the world, is experiencing a steep growth in their oldest demographics who, due to the effects of aging, require support as they adopt or continue to use smartphones in their advancing years. Target selection is a common task that is difficult for older adults to perform. An alternative selection method that is more accurate and usable would support existing smartphone users suffering age-related decline as well as encourage smartphone adoption by non-users who are 60 and over. Previous research suggests that lift selection will improve accuracy of target selection and be more usable than the method used currently, touch selection. This thesis investigated whether lift selection was more accurate and usable than touch selection for both older (60+) and younger (18-29) adults. Predictive relationships for accuracy and usability were also examined. Participants completed a target selection task on a smartphone using both lift and touch selection on targets of small (5 x 7 mm), average (10 x 13 mm) and large (15 x 20 mm) sizes before completing a survey of usability perceptions and self-reported smartphone habits. Results showed that touch selection was significantly more accurate than lift selection for both older and younger adults. Further analysis showed that regular smartphone usage was a weak, but significant positive predictor of touch selection accuracy and that age was a moderate, but significant negative predictor of touch selection accuracy. Some older adults showed improved accuracy during lift selection trials, and older adults were more likely to experience an accuracy improvement during lift selection compared to younger adults. Touch selection was rated significantly easier to use, more satisfying and more learnable by both older and younger adults. Smartphone owners were more likely to rate lift selection as less usable than non-smartphone owners, and there was no difference in usability ratings between touch and lift selection among non-smartphone owners.