טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentGoldman Doron
SubjectDevelopment of a Method for Improving Computer Usability for
Older Population by Optic-Vocal Input Devices
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisor Professor Ron Nabarro
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Abstract

Today's personal computers are controlled via Mice and Keyboards which comprises the de-facto standard in manipulating the home operating system. This method has remained unchanged in its concept and usability since it was developed. Advances in research and development of command and control methods originally developed for the military, their decrease in price and the ability to integrate them into home computers opens the possibility for a much tighter and intuitive connection between operator and machine.
There are a large number of people who face difficulties adapting to current interfaces. The older population is one of the primary sufferers from the limitations of computer usability due to problems accompanying old age.

Today we can see a tendency to adopt more natural interfaces in the form of touch-screens, which are becoming more common. Touch interfaces turn-out to be a more intuitive and comfortable interface which improves user experience. This causes changes in usability padagrims involved in operating-system design, which amounts toward natural manipulation of digital information.

This solution improves ordinary user's ability to operate a computer, but still is inaccessible to users suffering from motorial difficulties and fatigue. There are two possible approaches for overcoming these problems: redesigning the mouse and keyboard with consideration of older population's needs. Or simply bypassing the problems by evaluating alternatives which do not impose substantial physical and cognitive strain. Since older people have different mobility limitations, it was suggested to use a multimodal solution. However, this solution which combines eye-gaze and voice recognition is still lacking. Voice recognition does not solve the problems of the feeble.
For users that can see reasonably well, it is possible to install a large computer display with a camera, which will be operated via eye-gaze and possibly voice recognition. If the user's vision is weak, it would be preferable for text to be presented vocally via word recognition.
For those with more limited vision, it is advisable to make a combined use of word recognition and voice auditory display.
In order to deal with obstacles facing old users, it is suggested to create the solution in a modular fashion. Adopting all the solutions into a single repository, and using each one of them functionally, according to need. This will allow a real improvement in computer usability for the older public.