Volume 2(1), 2006-04, 103—118

Enhancing the usability of telecare devices

José Manuel Ojel-Jaramillo
Department of Experimental Psychology and Physiology of Behaviour
University of Granada Spain

José Juan Cañas
Department of Experimental Psychology and Physiology of Behaviour
University of Granada
Spain

Demographic and sociological changes in the last 50 years have forced Western societies to create services to attend to elderly people in their homes, where they can live within familiar environments. Telecare involves a device plugged into a telephonic network that provides access to teams of professionals who can attend to the needs of the elderly in their homes. These devices have been designed according to the principles of universal design, but the great number of erroneous calls to telecare centers point to the necessity of enhancing the usability of the devices. One analysis of the cognitive functioning of elderly people showed that a possible cause of these errors could be the difficulty elderly people have when processing language. In our experiment, we tested the hypothesis that the numbers of errors could be reduced by using icons instead of words in the device interface. The results support this hypothesis.

Peer review seal