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Special Issue "Age-Friendly Technologies: Interaction Design with and for Older People"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Digital Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 September 2022 | Viewed by 6725

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Mary Lou Maher
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Software and Information Systems, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, NC 28223, USA
Interests: interaction design; cognitive studies of user experience; qualitative and quantitative methodologies
Dr. Lina Lee
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Software and Information Systems, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC 28223, USA
Interests: human-computer interaction (HCI); aging and technology; embodied cognition; empirical study

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue has a focus on research that connects older adults’ wellness and quality of life with issues in designing technology with and for older adults. Challenges the aging population are facing include social isolation, digital exclusion, lack of digital skills, lack of physical and cognitive ability, demand for aging at home, and independent living. Recently, the use of interactive technology is essential for the senior community to connect with the outside world. The challenge for designers of interactive technology is that some older adults are not interested in technology yet find themselves confronted with an increasingly digital world. This Special Issue considers senior-centered design for interaction to facilitate a positive and engaging user experience to improve the overall quality of life by promoting older adults’ wellbeing and satisfaction. This interdisciplinary Special Issue aims to bring together a selection of high-quality papers (e.g., case studies, insightful reviews, theoretical and critical perspectives, and viewpoint articles) that contribute to technology design for older adults by addressing topics including, but not limited to:

  • Human-computer interaction
  • User-centered design
  • Ethnographic study
  • Empirical study
  • User engagement
  • Gerontechnology
  • Encouraging creativity and self esteem with technology
  • How technology affects social engagement
  • Educating aging adults on new technologies
  • Technologies that assist aging adults with managing their healthcare
  • Home health and wellness
  • Smart home systems

Prof. Dr. Mary Lou Maher
Dr. Lina Lee
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)
  • Human-centered design (HCD)
  • Aging and technology
  • Wellbeing
  • User engagement
  • Long-term Engagement
  • Positive Aging, Aging in Place (AIP)

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Article
How Do Older Adults Process Icons in Visual Search Tasks? The Combined Effects of Icon Type and Cognitive Aging
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(8), 4525; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19084525 - 08 Apr 2022
Viewed by 590
Abstract
Considering the differences in cognitive aging among older adults, this study examined how older adults process different types of graphic icons in visual search tasks. Fifty-four medical-related icons, including flat icons (FIs), FIs plus text (FIs + text), skeuomorphic icons (SIs), and SIs [...] Read more.
Considering the differences in cognitive aging among older adults, this study examined how older adults process different types of graphic icons in visual search tasks. Fifty-four medical-related icons, including flat icons (FIs), FIs plus text (FIs + text), skeuomorphic icons (SIs), and SIs plus text (SIs + text), were created. The participants were divided into two groups—cognitively normal (CN) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI)—to complete a visual search task. According to the eye-tracking data of the participants, the search performance of the CN group was significantly better than that of the MCI group. In terms of icon types, all older adults performed better at searching for the combinations of icon and text, especially SI + text, which showed the smallest difference in the search performance between the MCI and CN groups. All older adults performed poorly when searching for FIs. The findings of this study considered the differences in cognitive aging among older adults and provided a useful reference for the icon and interface design of graphical user interfaces. Full article
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Article
Designing Robots for Elderly from the Perspective of Potential End-Users: A Sociological Approach
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(6), 3630; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063630 - 18 Mar 2022
Viewed by 449
Abstract
The proposed research aims to investigate the problem of age-friendly robot designing from the perspective of the potential end-users. The initial objectives addressed three main issues: how the elderly envision robots and their knowledge on technological development; age-friendly robot design; the elderly’s involvement [...] Read more.
The proposed research aims to investigate the problem of age-friendly robot designing from the perspective of the potential end-users. The initial objectives addressed three main issues: how the elderly envision robots and their knowledge on technological development; age-friendly robot design; the elderly’s involvement in the robot design process. The empirical material analyzed are the results of in-depth interviews with people aged 70+. A sociological approach is proposed, based mainly on criticism of writing and the analytical and synthetic method. The theoretical framework is the perspective of an ageing society and technogerontology. The sociological approach enables better understanding of the sensitive problems of age-friendly robot designing from the individual point of view. It is concluded with a conceptual discussion on designing robots for the elderly. In particular, it is revealed how these issues could help in shaping social consensus about age-friendly technologies. Full article
Article
The Effects of Smart Home Interface Touch Button Design Features on Performance among Young and Senior Users
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(4), 2391; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19042391 - 18 Feb 2022
Viewed by 810
Abstract
Touch technology-based smart homes have become increasingly prevalent, as they can help people with independent daily life, especially for the elderly. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of button features (i.e., button size, graphics/text ratio, and icon style) in [...] Read more.
Touch technology-based smart homes have become increasingly prevalent, as they can help people with independent daily life, especially for the elderly. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of button features (i.e., button size, graphics/text ratio, and icon style) in smart home interfaces on user performance across two age groups. Participants in the young group (n = 15) and senior group (n = 15) completed a clicking task. Button size ranged from 10 mm to 25 mm with 5 mm increments. The three levels of graphics/text ratio were 3:1, 1:1, and 1:3, while icon style was either flat or skeuomorphic. Results showed that button size and graphics/text ratio had significant effects on user performance in both groups, whereas icon style only had an effect in the senior group. It was observed that the elderly were fond of buttons with a larger size of 20 mm with larger texts and skeuomorphic icons, whereas the young preferred a button size of 15 mm with equal-sized graphics and text. These results may help to improve the accessibility and usability of smart home interface design. Full article
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Article
Experiential Value of Technologies: A Qualitative Study with Older Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(4), 2235; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19042235 - 16 Feb 2022
Viewed by 719
Abstract
This study investigated the experiences of older adults with technologies they own and determined how they value them. Thirty-seven older adults participated in a Show and Tell co-creation session at a one-day workshop. Participants described why they loved or abandoned technologies they own. [...] Read more.
This study investigated the experiences of older adults with technologies they own and determined how they value them. Thirty-seven older adults participated in a Show and Tell co-creation session at a one-day workshop. Participants described why they loved or abandoned technologies they own. Their responses were recorded and analysed using Atlas.ti 22.0.0. Seven main themes representing experiential value in older adults emerged from the analysis: Convenience, Economy, Learning and Support, Currency of Technology, Privacy and Security, Emotions and Identity aspects of their experiences. This qualitative study has resulted in implications to design that recommends (a) Design for product ecosystems with technologies and services well-coordinated and synchronized to facilitate use of the technology (b) Create awareness and information on privacy and security issues and technical language associated with it (c) Make anti-virus and anti-phishing software accessible to older population (d) Design technologies as tools that allow older adults to identify themselves in the community and family (e) Create services that make technologies and services in the ecosystem affordable for the older adults. The outcomes of this study are significant as they provide recommendations that target systemic issues which present barriers in the use of technology. Full article
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Article
Digitally Enabled Health Service for the Integrated Management of Hypertension: A Participatory User-Centred Design Process
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(23), 12442; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182312442 - 26 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 752
Abstract
This article describes a user-centred approach taken by a group of five procurers to set specifications for the procurement of value-based research and development services for IT-supported integrated hypertension management. The approach considered the unmet needs of patients and health systems of the [...] Read more.
This article describes a user-centred approach taken by a group of five procurers to set specifications for the procurement of value-based research and development services for IT-supported integrated hypertension management. The approach considered the unmet needs of patients and health systems of the involved regions. The procurers established a framework for requirements and a solution design consisting of nine building blocks, divided into three domains: service delivery, devices and integration, and health care organisation. The approach included the development of questionnaires, capturing patients’ and professionals’ views on possible system functionalities, and a template collecting information about the organisation of healthcare, professionals involved and existing IT systems at the procurers’ premises. A total of 28 patients diagnosed with hypertension and 26 professionals were interviewed. The interviewees identified 98 functional requirements, grouped in the nine building blocks. A total of nine use cases and their corresponding process models were defined by the procurers’ working group. As result, a digitally enabled integrated approach to hypertension has been designed to allow citizens to learn how to prevent the development of hypertension and lead a healthy lifestyle, and to receive comprehensive, individualised treatment in close collaboration with healthcare professionals. Full article
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Article
A Study on Cause Analysis of Digital Divide among Older People in Korea
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8586; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168586 - 14 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1113
Abstract
Most people in modern society enjoy various benefits due to the development of information and communication technology and smart technology in modern society. However, due to the digital divide, there is a social class that cannot enjoy abundant benefits. The representative class is [...] Read more.
Most people in modern society enjoy various benefits due to the development of information and communication technology and smart technology in modern society. However, due to the digital divide, there is a social class that cannot enjoy abundant benefits. The representative class is the class of older people. In the latest four-year national report on the status of the digital divide, the class with largest digital divide among various information disadvantaged groups, such as the disabled, the low-income class, farmers and fishermen, and older people, is the class of older people. In this study, the causes of the digital divide among older people in Korea are analyzed from various perspectives. To this end, various statistical analyses have been conducted based on national statistical survey works over the past four years. The digital informatization level, which is an index used to measure the digital divide, can be classified into three main components: information access, information capability, and information utilization. Among the three components, the information capability is found to be the lowest. Information capability can also be divided into three components for PCs and mobile devices: installation, use, and management. Among them, management capability was found to be the lowest. Based on this analysis, various plans to reduce the digital divide among older people were proposed. Full article

Review

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Review
A Bibliometric Analysis of Human-Machine Interaction Methodology for Electric-Powered Wheelchairs Driving from 1998 to 2020
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(14), 7567; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147567 - 16 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1073
Abstract
Electric power wheelchairs (EPWs) enhance the mobility capability of the elderly and the disabled, while the human-machine interaction (HMI) determines how well the human intention will be precisely delivered and how human-machine system cooperation will be efficiently conducted. A bibliometric quantitative analysis of [...] Read more.
Electric power wheelchairs (EPWs) enhance the mobility capability of the elderly and the disabled, while the human-machine interaction (HMI) determines how well the human intention will be precisely delivered and how human-machine system cooperation will be efficiently conducted. A bibliometric quantitative analysis of 1154 publications related to this research field, published between 1998 and 2020, was conducted. We identified the development status, contributors, hot topics, and potential future research directions of this field. We believe that the combination of intelligence and humanization of an EPW HMI system based on human-machine collaboration is an emerging trend in EPW HMI methodology research. Particular attention should be paid to evaluating the applicability and benefits of the EPW HMI methodology for the users, as well as how much it contributes to society. This study offers researchers a comprehensive understanding of EPW HMI studies in the past 22 years and latest trends from the evolutionary footprints and forward-thinking insights regarding future research. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Experiential Value Based Framework for Older Adults' Use of Technology
Authors: Desai, Shital; McGrath, Colleen; McNeil Heather; McMurray Josephine; Sveistrup Heidi; Astell Arlene
Affiliation: Social and Technological Systems lab, School of Arts Media Performance and Design, York University
Abstract: Older adults’ experiences with technologies determine how they value them, which is a deciding factor in older adults’ continuous use of these technologies in everyday life. This study investigated the experiences of older adults with their own technologies they loved and abandoned. Thirty-seven older adults participated in a Show and Tell cocreation session at a one-day workshop. Participants described why they loved or abandoned technologies they own. Their responses were recorded and analysed using Atlas Ti. Three main thematic values emerged: Utilitarian, Emotional and Social. Utilitarian experiential values were: making tasks and use of technologies easy, the importance of product support as well as autonomy and costs incurred in the purchase and use of technology. Emotional values referred to activities afforded by technologies to drive emotions and sentiments in older adults. Social values referred to the ability of technology to enable the playing of crucial roles in the community and family with the technologies and following traditions and rituals. These findings have resulted in a framework for technology use in older adults that suggests (a) designing technologies around activities of older adults, (b) design services and policies to make technologies accessible/available to older adults (c) designing services and interfaces around training and support.

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