ESPOO, Finland – Researchers at Aalto University and Kochi University of Technology in Japan have developed a new algorithmic approach to individualizing the way health consumers interact with device interfaces to account for people with tremors, dyslexia and dementia, among other conditions.
”The majority of available user interfaces are targeted at average users,” said Jussi Jokinen, one of the Aalto University researchers, in a statement. “This ‘one size fits all’ thinking does not consider individual differences in abilities—the aging and disabled users have a lot of problems with daily technology use and often these are very specific to their abilities and the circumstances.”
The researchers have developed a predictive model of interaction, called an “optimizer,” which combines psychological research on finger pointing and eye movements to predict text entry speed, typing errors and proofreading.
The researchers tested it by simulating a user with essential tremor. They predicted that typing with a smartphone that has the normal keyboard is almost impossible for such a user, because more than half of all typed keys are typos.
The result of the optimization was a text entry interface, which the model predicted to be superior for users with essential tremor, which resulted in almost no text entry errors.
The researchers then tested the optimizer on a real user with tremor, with similar results.
“I hope that designers pick up from here and with the help of our model and optimizer create individually targeted, polished interfaces,” said Jokinen.