Evaluation of an Experimental Virtual Environment Prototype for Older Population Warning Studies
Authors: Lara Reisab, Emília Duartec, Francisco Rebeloab
Abstract: Over the years, different types of Virtual Environment (VE) systems have become commercially available, thereby giving rise to several types of human performance studies. However, in the field of safety communications, VE usability knowledge regarding older populations is scarce. In this context, this paper discusses the main findings gathered regarding a pilot study which aimed to assess usability issues associated to an experimental VE prototype. Such a VE was designed for conducting ergonomic studies with older populations (50-70 years old) and safety warnings. The nature of both this study, and its sample, is justified by the fact that, as one grows older, the ability to interact and comply with warnings, as well as technology, is adversely affected by several perceptual and/or cognitive deficits. Based on such facts, the present study sought to understand if the VE prototype’s system set-up could be successfully used by older populations. In order to undergo such an evaluation, such a study composed of two key moments: to examine if older users could perform certain interactions inside the VE; and to analyze whether they could perceive the VE´s graphical information. The study’s results provide important insights that may enhance VE interaction and warnings design research.
Keywords: Virtual Environments, Interaction, Ageing, Safety Warnings, Usability
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