Web Usability and Age
Speaker: Tom Tullis , Fidelity Investments
Date: September 26 2003
Relevant URL: http://members.aol.com/TomTullis/prof.htm
This presentation will summarize two usability studies we conducted at Fidelity Investments that included a total of 49 participants ranging in age from 20 to 82. The goal of Study 1 was to learn whether there were differences in how older adults interact with the Web and whether changes in text size would affect performance. Users completed tasks on a prototype employee/retiree benefits site using various text sizes. We learned that older users (55 years or older) had significantly more difficulty using the Web site than younger users. Text size did not significantly affect performance in any age group. In Study 2 new participants performed the same tasks on a version of the site that was redesigned to address the usability problems encountered by older users in Study 1. The goal was to learn whether we could redesign the prototype to improve the performance of older adults. Performance improved significantly for both older and younger users. The talk will include descriptions of the design changes that were made as well as general lessons we have learned about Web design for older adults.
Thomas S. (Tom) Tullis is Senior Vice President of Human Interface Design at Fidelity Investments, where he manages a department within Fidelity's Center for Applied Technology. He joined Fidelity in 1993 to help start this department, which focuses on continuously improving the usability of Fidelity's interactive systems and web sites. The department includes a state-of-the-art Usability Lab with one-way mirrors, remote-control digital video, and eye-tracking equipment.
Dr. Tullis received his B.A. from Rice University, M.A. in Experimental Psychology from New Mexico State University, and Ph.D. in Engineering Psychology from Rice University. He has over 27 years of experience in the human-computer interface field. In addition, he has published over 35 papers in technical journals and has been an invited speaker at national and international conferences. He also holds eight United States patents. Prior to joining Fidelity, he worked at Canon Information Systems, McDonnell Douglas, Unisys Corporation, and Bell Laboratories. While at McDonnell Douglas, he helped design the human-computer interface on-board the International Space Station now being built.
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