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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A comparison of touchscreen and mouse for real-world and abstract tasks with older adults Zhang, Kailun


Touchscreens have become a mainstream input device for older adults. We compared performance of touchscreen and mouse input for older adults on both abstract and real-world pointing and dragging tasks: classic Fitts’s law tasks and tasks drawn from C-TOC, a computerized cognitive test being designed for older adults. The abstract and real-world tasks were designed to require equivalent motor skills. Sixteen older adult participants completed both types of tasks using a touchscreen and a mouse. The touchscreen was faster for both task types but somewhat more error-prone. However, the speed advantage of touchscreens for abstract tasks did not translate evenly to the corresponding real-world tasks. A KLM was used to explain the different speed gains in real-world tasks by incorporating both physical and cognitive components. As a self-administered test, C-TOC, would benefit from richer performance measures, beyond speed and accuracy, to compensate for the lack of a clinician observer who is typically present in comparable paper-based cognitive tests. We looked into the movement patterns of a real-world dragging task – the C-TOC Pattern Construction task – and found that older adults naturally adopted different movement patterns between devices: they tended to make shorter moves and a greater number of moves on a touchscreen than with a mouse. This indicates that careful device-based calibration will be needed for new performance metrics in computerized tests.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada