Cursor-control performance of older adults using two computer input devices

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Bohan, Michael
Chaparro, Alex
Fernandez, Jeffrey E.
Kattel, Bheem P.
Choi, Sang D.

Bohan, M., Chaparro, A., Fernandez, J.E., Kattel, B.P., & Choi, S.D. (1998). Cursor-control performance of older adults using two computer input devices. Presented at the 13th Annual International Occupational Ergonomics and Safety Conference, Ypsilanti, Michigan, June 11-14, 1998.


This study investigated age-related differences in user performance and preferences for two widely available computer pointing devices, a mouse and trackball. Subjects acquired on-screen targets of varying distance and size using point-and-click and click-and-drag motions. Older adults took longer to complete their movements, and did so with less accuracy for large amplitude movements. In addition, both age groups performed more slowly with the trackball and with click-and-drag motions. Analysis of muscle activity(RMS) of the forearm flexor and extensor showed no age-related differences. Subjective ratings indicated that the trackball was preferred by 75% of the participants regardless of age or task.

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