Smart Remote Control Design for Seniors
Technology is present in almost all aspects of our modern lives, and technological advances have been more and more prevalent. One would expect this to facilitate everybody’s life, rendering common tasks more practical and easier to perform, but that is often not the case – at least not for the elderly. Older people have significant difficulties in using technological equipment due to the visual, physical, cognitive and hearing limitations associated with the natural aging process; these aspects must be taken into account if the intention is that of integrating technology in the lives of the elderly.
In order to improve the quality of life of the elderly, as well as to prevent their social isolation, a mobile device application was developed to act as an intelligent remote control. This mobile application deals with data from two different platforms that were previously developed for improving the quality of life of the senior population: HbbTV and +Social. The features built into this virtual remote control include the integration with the +Social platform, as well as a speech recognition mechanism, and the possibility of making and receiving video calls with an integrated contacts list.
A comprehensive study was carried out, focusing on recommendations and rules for graphical interfaces for the elderly, so as to allow equipping the application with adequate usability standards. The most relevant result was the definition of a list of guidelines used to steer the development of the interface. An investigation of mechanisms and technologies for enabling the implementation of the required functionalities was also carried out in order to define methodologies for freeing the user from the need of possessing any level of computer literacy.
A series of usability tests was also performed to validate the viability of the remote control application. These tests allowed assessing the quality of the application, especially concerning the Graphical User Interface, as well as to receive feedback from potential end users. Based on the data collected during the test phase we conclude that this product is useful and that it responds to a current need.
KeywordsRemote control Elderly Graphical user interface Android
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