Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why aren't product designers considering activity trackers for older adults?

Date:
June 11, 2014
Source:
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
Summary:
Commercially available activity-monitoring apps, Web sites, and wearable devices allow for easy self-management of health and wellness. This technology may be particularly helpful for older adults, who can improve their cognitive function through proper diet and exercise. Despite tracking monitors' growing popularity and potential benefits, product designers rarely consider those over 65 to be a viable user group, and new human factors/ergonomics research indicates that the technology presents several usability challenges for this population.

"Activity-monitoring technologies can make tracking diet and exercise easier because they gather some data automatically and display trends over time," said Preusse. "Companies should market their products directly to older adult users so that they understand how the technology can be beneficial in managing their health."
Credit: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society

Commercially available activity-monitoring apps, Web sites, and wearable devices allow for easy self-management of health and wellness. This technology may be particularly helpful for older adults, who can improve their cognitive function through proper diet and exercise. Despite tracking monitors' growing popularity and potential benefits, product designers rarely consider those over 65 to be a viable user group, and new human factors/ergonomics research indicates that the technology presents several usability challenges for this population.

"Many older adults have chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension that require them to self-manage their health," said Kimberly Preusse, coauthor of "Activity Monitoring Technologies and Older Adult Users: Heuristic Analysis and Usability Assessment" and Georgia Tech engineering psychology graduate student. "Research has shown that they want to track their diet and exercise, but most don't use activity-monitoring technologies to do so."

In research presented at the 2014 International Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care in April, authors Preusse, Tracy Mitzner, Cara Fausset, and Wendy Rogers designed a study assessing the usability of two popular Web-based and wearable activity trackers. Older adult participants were asked to track their diet and exercise over two weeks and report on usability issues they experienced, as well as their attitudes toward the technology. The authors also conducted a separate analysis of both trackers to uncover any design issues that could be problematic.

The researchers found a number of usability problems, including low color contrast between icons and the background screen, small fonts, and inconsistent navigation bars across Web sites. Study participants perceived the technology to be inaccurate when tracking step counts and sleep patterns. Many of them also reported difficulty remembering to log their information and use the device, which could be mitigated by more prominent reminder options.

"Activity-monitoring technologies can make tracking diet and exercise easier because they gather some data automatically and display trends over time," said Preusse. "Companies should market their products directly to older adult users so that they understand how the technology can be beneficial in managing their health."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. "Why aren't product designers considering activity trackers for older adults?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140611143741.htm>.
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. (2014, June 11). Why aren't product designers considering activity trackers for older adults?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140611143741.htm
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. "Why aren't product designers considering activity trackers for older adults?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140611143741.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is blaming doctors for the low number of children being vaccinated for HPV. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins