Age-related cognitive decline and navigation in electronic environments
The older population is increasing, as is life expectancy. Technical devices are becoming more widespread and used for many everyday tasks. Knowledge about new technology is important to remain as an active and independent part of the society. However, if an old user group should have equal access to this technology, new demands will be placed on the design of interfaces and devices. With respect to old users it is and will be important to develop technical devices and interfaces that take the age-related decline in physical and cognitive abilities into account. The aim of this work was to investigate to what extent the age-related cognitive decline affects performance on different computer-related tasks and the use of different interfaces. With respect to the use of computer interfaces, two studies were conducted. In the first study, the information was presented with a hierarchical structure. In the second study the information was presented as a 3D-environment, and it was also investigated how an overview map could support navigation. The third study examined the age-related cognitive decline in the use of a small mobile phone display with a hierarchical information structure. The results from the studies showed that the most pronounced age-related difference was found in the use of the 3D-environment. Within this environment, prior experience was found to have the largest impact on performance. Regarding the hierarchical information structures, prior experience seemed to have a larger impact on performance of easy tasks, while age and cognitive abilities had a larger impact on performance of more complex tasks. With respect to navigation aids, the overview map in the 3D-environment did not reduce the age-differences; however, it contributed to a better perceived orientation and reduced the feeling of being lost.
Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation
Keywords:SOCIAL SCIENCES; Social sciences; Psychology; Ageing; cognition; navigation; computers; internet; mobile phones; interface design
Date of Publication:01/01/2006