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Modality preference and performance when seniors consult online information

Wright, Patricia, Soroka, Anthony John, Belt, Steven, Pham, Duc Truong, Dimov, Stefan, DeRoure, D. C. and Petrie, H. 2008. Modality preference and performance when seniors consult online information. Gerontechnology 7 (3) , pp. 293-304. 10.4017/gt.2008.

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Four studies explore the behaviour of older people when using two sets of online reference materials, one involving maps and the other giving details of universities. In the first two studies 32 people aged 59-78, chose their preferred information modality (text, voice or both) when using both sets of materials. Although 13 people (41%) chose to listen for at least one task, only 7 people listened on both tasks. These seven people had lower scores on a pre-test of spatial working memory but higher scores on a test of verbal short term memory. This suggests that people’s cognitive resources influence their media choices. In studies 3 and 4 another 32 people, aged 60-80, did both tasks but with no choice of modality. 16 people heard the voice for the map task but not for the universities, and 16 people had the modalities reversed across tasks. Overall, the voice did not change accuracy or speed, but these studies provided further evidence that the benefit of audio in reducing errors was a function both of a person’s cognitive resources (verbal short term memory and spatial working memory) and the demands of the current task. It is concluded that many older people would choose to listen if interfaces made this option easily available.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Uncontrolled Keywords: modality; information search; interface; preference; voice; audio
Publisher: International Society for Gerontechnology
ISSN: 1569-111X
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2022 11:41

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