Publication of the week: Suleyman Al-Showarah, Naseer Al-Jawad & Harin Sellahewa

14 July 2014

Al-Showarah, S., N. Al-Jawad & H. Sellahewa, “Effects of User Age on Smartphone and Tablet Use, Measured with an Eye-Tracker via Fixation Duration, Scan-Path Duration, and Saccades Proportion”, Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction. Universal Access to Information and Knowledge (Lecture Notes in Computer Science vol.8514, 2014), 3-14.

The design of user interfaces plays an important role in human-computer interaction, especially for smartphones and tablet devices. It is very important to consider the interface design of smartphones for elderly people in order for them to benefit from the variety of applications on such devices. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of user age as well as screen size on smartphone / tablet use. We evaluated the usability of smartphone interfaces for three different age groups: elderly age group (60+ years), middle age group (40-59 years) and younger age group (20-39 years). The evaluation was performed using three different screen sizes of smartphone and tablet devices: 3.2”, 7”, and 10.1” respectively. An eye-tracker device was employed to obtain three metrics: fixation duration, scan-path duration, and saccades amplitude. Two hypotheses were considered. First, elderly users will have more local and global processing difficulties on smartphone / tablet use than other age groups. Second, all user age groups will be influenced by screen sizes; small screen size will have smaller saccades proportion indicating uneasy interface browsing compared to large screen size. All these results have been statistically evaluated using 2-way ANOVA.

Dr Naseer Al-Jawad and Dr Harin Sellahewa work in the Department of Applied Computing at Buckingham, where Suleyman Al-Showarah is a research student.