Age Differences in Computer Input Device Use: A Comparison of Touchscreen, Trackball, and Mouse

  • Ho-chuen Ng
  • Da Tao
  • Calvin K. L. Or
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 206)


This study examined age-related differences in user performance and preference with three computer input devices (mouse, touchscreen, and trackball) among older, middle-aged, and younger adults. Sixty-six participants were recruited and equally split into the three age groups. The results showed that age and input device had significant effect on task completion time and number of error. There were significant age-related performance differences in task completion time among the input devices. Ratings of users’ preference indicated that the older adults preferred trackball to the mouse and touchscreen. Our findings suggest that the touchscreen could moderate only part of the age-related performance differences and conferred limited benefits to older adults. More research efforts are required to examine user characteristics, user perception on the use of the devices, and task requirements before we can determine the benefits of an input device for users in different ages.


Age-related difference input device user performance 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Industrial & Manufacturing Systems EngineeringThe University of Hong KongPokfulamHong Kong

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