Effect of age on the touchscreen manipulation ability of community-dwelling adults

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Assessment of touchscreen manipulation skills is essential for determining the abilities of older individuals and the extent to which they may benefit from this technology as a means to enhance participation, self-esteem, and quality of life. The aim of this study was to compare the touchscreen manipulation ability between community-dwelling older adults and middle-aged adults using a newly developed Touchscreen Assessment Tool (TATOO) and to determine the usability of this instrument. Convenience samples of two age groups were considered, one including 28 independent community-living older adults aged 81.9 ± 4.2 years with intact or corrected vision and with the abilities to walk independently with or without a walking aid and to understand and follow simple commands, and the other including 25 healthy middle-age adults aged 53.4 ± 5.9 years. The usability assessment was conducted during a single session using the System Usability Scale (SUS). Older adults demonstrated poorer touchscreen skills compared to middle-aged adults. Previous experience in manipulating a smartphone by the older adults did not affect their performance. The SUS results indicated good usability of the TATOO by both age groups. The TATOO shows promise as a userfriendly tool for assessing the specific skills needed to operate touchscreens. The outcomes of this study support the suitability of touchscreen devices and applications as well as the need for adapted accessibility for older adults. Researchers and clinicians will benefit from the availability of a rapid, low-cost, and objective tool to assess the skills required for touchscreen use.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2094
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - 21 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Assessment tool
  • Assistive technology
  • Disability
  • Hand function
  • Low cost
  • Older adults
  • Outcome measures
  • Touchscreen manipulation skills
  • Usability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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