Preserving older pedestrians’ navigation skills in urban environments is a challenge for maintaining their quality of life. However, the maps that are usually used by older pedestrians might be unsuitable to their specificities and the existing digital aids do not consider older people’s perceptual and cognitive declines or user experience. This study presents a rich description of the navigation experience of older pedestrians either with a visual (augmented reality glasses), auditory (bone conduction headphones), or a visual and haptic (smartwatch) wearable device adapted to age-related declines. These wearable devices are compared to the navigation aid older people usually use when navigating the city (their own digital or paper map). The study, with 18 participants, measured the navigation performance and captured detailed descriptions of the users’ experience using interviews. We highlight three main phenomena which impact the quality of the user experience with the four aids: (1) the shifts in attention over time, (2) the understanding of the situation over time, and (3) the emergence of affective and aesthetic feelings over time. These findings add a new understanding of the specificities of navigation experience by older people and are discussed in terms of design recommendations for navigation devices.
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