Facilitating intuitive interaction with complex devices for older users

Older people have difficulties using complex electronic devices, with our research showing that they use them less intuitively than younger people do. Older people are often not experiencing the benefits of new developments and technologies, and so, can feel isolated from modern workplaces and society generally. This project aims to investigate, and build a clear picture of, the relationship between age and intuitive interaction with complex devices.

Our research has found that older people show slower, less intuitive interaction and more errors. Older people are less familiar with products that they own than younger people, while both older and middle aged people are less familiar with products that they do not own than younger ones. Also, age-related cognitive decline was found to be related to slower, less intuitive performance with various contemporary products and interfaces. Therefore, showing that older people are struggling with two factors that make interface use more difficult.

Tools that can assist designers and researchers in discovering familiarity and applying intuitive interaction to interfaces are currently being developed from the findings of this research.

Research Team

Chief Investigators

PhD Students

  • Simon Lawry
  • Gudur Raghavendra Reddy


Funding / Grants

  • ARC Discovery Project (2009 - 2013)

Older person using tablet computer