PsychNology Journal, Volume 11, Number 2, 119 – 136

Designing a Computer-based Rehabilitation Solution for Older Adults: The Importance of Testing Usability

Fátima González-Palau
Intras Foundation, Spain and University of Salamanca, Spain

Manuel Franco
Intras Foundation, Spain and Mental Health Unit of Zamora Hospital, Spain

José M. Toribio, Raquel Losada, Esther Parra
Intras Foundation, Spain

Panagiotis Bamidis
Spain) Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece


ABSTRACT

Over the past years, the development of technology applications for elderly people has increased, creating new possibilities for treatment. These applications are usually identified as successful solutions for mental health but usability limitations may influence their effective deployment in clinical use. The objective of this study was to examine the usability aspects of a cognitive and physical training platform, comparing these aspects in healthy elderly, subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and others with dementia. Method: 80 elderly were recruited from different clinical contexts. They received three months of training with the Long Lasting Memories (LLM) platform and were assessed through a special questionnaire that asked for the usability aspects of the program. Results: High scores were found in all the sections of the questionnaire, indicating good usability and satisfaction with the LLM system. Participants with dementia expressed more difficulties than the rest of subjects (F(2,160) = 4,488; p = .009) in learning how to use LLM. Also most of the professionals found LLM difficult (60%) or very difficult (20%) for elderly subjects with cognitive impairment to use without help and revealed that this group needed more explanations in the use of the platform. Conclusion: The strengths and problems found related to usability enabled a better understanding of the LLM system that contributed improving the software. The results also highlighted the importance of examining not only the cognitive effectiveness of new rehabilitation programs, but also the immediate issues of design and acceptance by end users.

KEYWORDS: Usability, Cognitive Training, Physical Training, Dementia, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Aging.


CITE AS:
González-Palau F., Franco M., Toribio J.M., Losada R., Parra E. and Bamidis P. (2013). Designing a Computer-based Rehabilitation Solution for Older Adults: The Importance of Testing Usability. PsychNology Journal, 11(2), 119 - 136. Retrieved [month] [day], [year], from www.psychnology.org.

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PsychNology Journal Volume 11, Number 2