Browse Publications Technical Papers 1999-01-1604
1999-04-20

The Effect of Age on Computer Input Device Use: Performance and Ratings of Perceived Exertion 1999-01-1604

Age-related declines in sensory-motor and musculoskeletal systems may interfere with the use of computer pointing devices by older adults. This experiment compared older and younger adults’ ability to select onscreen targets using a mouse and two trackball designs (finger-ball vs. thumb-ball). Analysis of throughput values indicated that the mouse was superior to either trackball design, which supported equivalent levels of performance. For older computer users, the thumb-ball was associated with higher levels of perceived exertion. The results suggest the mouse may be a better input device but the finger-ball may represent a viable alternative for elderly with a reduced range of motion of the wrist.

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