A Study of Pointing Performance of Elderly Users on Smartphones

Hwan Hwangbo, Sol Hee Yoon, Beom Suk Jin, Young Suk Han, Yong Gu Ji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)


The number of global smartphone users is rapidly increasing. However, the proportion of elderly persons using smartphones is lower than that of other age groups because they feel it is difficult to use touch screens. There have only been a few studies about usability and elderly smartphone users or designs for them. Based on this background, we studied the pointing action of elderly users, which is a basic skill required to use touch screens on smartphones. We reviewed previous works to determine specific research methods and categorized them into three groups: (a) effect of target size and spacing on touch screen pointing performance, (b) effect of age on pointing performance, and (c) feedback of touch screens. To investigate the touch screen pointing performance of elderly, we conducted two experiments. In the first experiment, 3 target sizes (5 mm, 8 mm, and 12 mm) and 2 target spacings (1 mm, 3 mm) were evaluated. Adding to that, we analyzed whether touch screen pointing performance is dependent on the location of the target. In the second experiment, 3 types of feedback (auditory, tactile, and audiotactile) were evaluated. The results show that (a) pointing performance of elderly was significantly influenced by size, spacing, and location of target, and (b) the performance was higher in audiotactile feedback condition. We expected that these results can contribute to the design of smartphone applications for elderly users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-618
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications


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