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Title: An exploration into the use of cognitive characteristics when designing for older adults
Author: Crabb, Michael
ISNI:       0000 0004 5347 615X
Awarding Body: University of Dundee
Current Institution: University of Dundee
Date of Award: 2014
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It is now common for people of all ages to use the Internet to access information, with websites being tailored towards their intended audience by focusing on user age. However, very little evidence exists to confirm that age is a valid metric for distinguishing between users. It has been shown that additional metrics such as fluid intelligence and individuals' prior experience in using technology can be used to predict their computing habits. Yet, despite this there is still a need to understand to what extent we can use these additional cognitive metrics to predict individuals' computing habits, and whether adaptations can be made to a user interface by focusing on these alternate factors. This thesis presents three studies that aim to discover whether age can be used as a suitable metric for distinguishing between older adults, or if other factors can provide a greater insight. Information retrieval tasks are used to test the performance of these factors. First a study is introduced that examines the effect that fluid intelligence and Internet usage has on individuals with both qualitative and quantitative analysis being used. Second, a larger study is reported on that examines a collection of Internet and cognitive factors in order to determine to what extent each of these metrics can account for disorientation in users. This is then expanded on to examine correlations that exist between each of the individual factors and a set of usability guidelines. Finally, a study is presented that examines six individual navigation based web elements and whether the inclusion or exclusion of these can optimize user browsing experience. By examining user performance and considering age, Internet abilities, and cognitive characteristics, this thesis shows that age is not a suitable metric to distinguish between individuals when compared to other metrics. Factors such as a user's previous Internet experience and fluid based cognitive abilities can be used to gain a better insight into users' reported browsing experience during information retrieval tasks.
Supervisor: Hanson, Vicki ; Cobley, Andrew Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available