Usability Considerations for Older People: Test Results

Last post I mentioned in passing the factors or issues wherein there was a marked difference between the older group and the younger group. Today I will discuss each factor.

1. Assigning blame - Older people were found to blame themselves more than the web design when encountering difficulty while surfing. They generally blamed their lack of technical knowledge and assumed that it was their fault as compared to the younger ones wherein most did not vocally express blame either towards themselves or the websites.

2. Emotional reaction - People of the older group also had a more emotional reaction, both in the positive and negative sense, while surfing websites as opposed to those in the younger group wherein the only incidence where strong emotions were evident was when they talked about a negative part of the website.

3. Mental models - The test showed that more people from the older group failed to grasp the concept of a scroll bar and didn’t scroll down several times when they needed to. This could be due to the fact that the older generation is more used to books and the concept of scrolling down is not something they can easily assimilate as opposed to younger folks who grew up in the computer age where scroll bars are commonplace.

4. Technical language - As expected those in the older group had a harder time understanding technical jargon. The younger group who grew up and are more exposed to words like homepage, URL, browser, minimise, and maximise of course did not need to struggle to understand them. Older folks though needed to have these words explained or to se their common sense to put them into context and figure out exactly what they had to do.

Test Results to be continued…

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