With the ever-increasing development of technology and its integration into users’ private and professional life, a decision regarding its acceptance or rejection still remains an open question. A respectable amount of work dealing with the technology acceptance model (TAM), from its first appearance more than a quarter of a century ago, clearly indicates a popularity of the model in the field of technology acceptance. Originated in the psychological theory of reasoned action and theory of planned behavior, TAM has evolved to become a key model in understanding predictors of human behavior toward potential acceptance or rejection of the technology. The main aim of the paper is to provide an up-to-date, well-researched resource of past and current references to TAM-related literature and to identify possible directions for future TAM research. The paper presents a comprehensive concept-centric literature review of the TAM, from 1986 onwards. According to a designed methodology, 85 scientific publications have been selected and classified according to their aim and content into three categories such as (i) TAM literature reviews, (ii) development and extension of TAM, and (iii) modification and application of TAM. Despite a continuous progress in revealing new factors with significant influence on TAM’s core variables, there are still many unexplored areas of model potential application that could contribute to its predictive validity. Consequently, four possible future directions for TAM research based on the conducted literature review and analysis are identified and presented.
Over the last three decades, video games have evolved from a pastime into a force of change that is transforming the way people perceive, learn about, and interact with the world around them. In addition to entertainment, games are increasingly used for other purposes such as education or health. Despite this increased interest, a significant number of people encounter barriers when playing games due to a disability. Accessibility problems may include the following: (1) not being able to receive feedback; (2) not being able to determine in-game responses; (3) not being able to provide input using conventional input devices. This paper surveys the current state-of-the-art in research and practice in the accessibility of video games and points out relevant areas for future research. A generalized game interaction model shows how a disability affects ones ability to play games. Estimates are provided on the total number of people in the United States whose ability to play games is affected by a disability. A large number of accessible games are surveyed for different types of impairments, across several game genres, from which a number of high- and low-level accessibility strategies are distilled for game developers to inform their design.
This article presents a longitudinal study with four children with autism, who were exposed to a humanoid robot over a period of several months. The longitudinal approach allowed the children time to explore the space of robot–human, as well as human–human interaction. Based on the video material documenting the interactions, a quantitative and qualitative analysis was conducted. The quantitative analysis showed an increase in duration of pre-defined behaviours towards the later trials. A qualitative analysis of the video data, observing the children’s activities in their interactional context, revealed further aspects of social interaction skills (imitation, turn-taking and role-switch) and communicative competence that the children showed. The results clearly demonstrate the need for, and benefits of, long-term studies in order to reveal the full potential of robots in the therapy and education of children with autism.
Data access in an enterprise setting is a determining factor for value creation processes, such as sense-making, decision-making, and intelligence analysis. Particularly, in an enterprise setting, intuitive data access tools that directly engage domain experts with data could substantially increase competitiveness and profitability. In this respect, the use of ontologies as a natural communication medium between end users and computers has emerged as a prominent approach. To this end, this article introduces a novel ontology-based visual query system, named OptiqueVQS, for end users. OptiqueVQS is built on a powerful and scalable data access platform and has a user-centric design supported by a widget-based flexible and extensible architecture allowing multiple coordinated representation and interaction paradigms to be employed. The results of a usability experiment performed with non-expert users suggest that OptiqueVQS provides a decent level of expressivity and high usability and hence is quite promising.
A vision-based humancomputer interface is presented in the paper. The interface detects voluntary eye-blinks and interprets them as control commands. The employed image processing methods include Haar-like features for automatic face detection, and template matching based eye tracking and eye-blink detection. Interface performance was tested by 49 users (of which 12 were with physical disabilities). Test results indicate interface usefulness in offering an alternative mean of communication with computers. The users entered English and Polish text (with average time of less than 12s per character) and were able to browse the Internet. The interface is based on a notebook equipped with a typical web camera and requires no extra light sources. The interface application is available on-line as open-source software.
The number of people over the age of 65 is increasing worldwide with the fastest growing subgroup those aged 80+ years. Computer and information technologies hold promise in terms of increasing the quality of life for older people. However, successful use of technology by older adults is predicated on systems that are designed to accommodate the needs and preferences of this user group. This paper discusses the implications of age-related changes in cognition for system design. Generally, the existing literature shows that, although older adults are willing to use technology, many report usability problems with existing systems and these problems may in part be due to the cognitive and perceptual demands placed on the user. These findings are discussed in terms of guidelines for system design.
Although “User-Centred”, “Participatory”, and other similar design approaches have proved to be very valuable for mainstream design, their principles are more difficult to apply successfully when the user group contains, or is composed of, older and/or disabled users. In the field of design for older and disabled people, the “Universal Design”, “Inclusive Design” and “Design for All” movements have encouraged designers to extend their design briefs to include older and disabled people. The downside of these approaches is that they can tend to encourage designers to follow a traditional design path to produce a prototype design, and only then investigate how to modify their interfaces and systems to cope with older and/or disabled users. This can lead to an inefficient design process and sometimes an inappropriate design, which may be “accessible” to people with disabilities, but in practice unusable. This paper reviews the concept that the authors have called “User-Sensitive Inclusive Design”, which suggests a different approach to designing for marginalised groups of people. Rather than suggesting that designers rely on standards and guidelines, it is suggested that designers need to develop a real empathy with their user groups. A number of ways to achieve this are recommended, including the use of ethnography and techniques derived from professional theatre both for requirements gathering and for improving designers’ empathy for marginalised groups of users, such as older and disabled people.
Accessibility and equal opportunities for all in the digital age have become increasingly important over the last decade. In one form or another, the concept of accessibility is being considered to a greater or smaller extent in most projects that develop interactive systems. However, the concept varies among different professions, cultures and interest groups. Design for all, universal access and inclusive design are all different names of approaches that largely focus on increasing the accessibility of the interactive system for the widest possible range of use. But, in what way do all these concepts differ and what is the underlying philosophy in all of these concepts? This paper aims at investigating the various concepts used for accessibility, its methodological and historical development and some philosophical aspects of the concept. It can be concluded that there is little or no consensus regarding the definition and use of the concept, and consequently, there is a risk of bringing less accessibility to the target audience. Particularly in international standardization the lack of consensus is striking. Based on this discussion, the authors argue for a much more thorough definition of the concept and discuss what effects it may have on measurability, conformance with standards and the overall usability for the widest possible range of target users.
The emergence and popularization of information and communications technologies (ICT) is changing modern society and its educational landscape. ICT facilitates individuals’ ability to learn anywhere and at any time. In fact, by using ICT, access to knowledge acquisition is not restricted to formal contexts, such as academic institutions. This position paper reviews the educational contexts in which new learning strategies using ICT have been adapted, by focusing on how users access information and improve their digital skills. Our initial hypothesis is that in technological environments, learners use very specific devices and applications to access information, because content accessibility depends on both the user’s profiles and ICT. We demonstrate this through a case study applied in several Spanish university institutions.
Value creation in an organisation is a time-sensitive and data-intensive process, yet it is often delayed and bounded by the reliance on IT experts extracting data for domain experts. Hence, there is a need for providing people who are not professional developers with the flexibility to pose relatively complex and ad hoc queries in an easy and intuitive way. In this respect, visual methods for query formulation undertake the challenge of making querying independent of users' technical skills and the knowledge of the underlying textual query language and the structure of data. An ontology is more promising than the logical schema of the underlying data for guiding users in formulating queries, since it provides a richer vocabulary closer to the users' understanding. However, on the one hand, today the most of world's enterprise data reside in relational databases rather than triple stores, and on the other, visual query formulation has become more compelling due to ever-increasing data size and complexity-known as Big Data. This article presents and argues for ontology-based visual query formulation for end-users; discusses its feasibility in terms of ontology-based data access, which virtualises legacy relational databases as RDF, and the dimensions of Big Data; presents key conceptual aspects and dimensions, challenges, and requirements; and reviews, categorises, and discusses notable approaches and systems.
Research data management is rapidly becoming a regular concern for researchers, and institutions need to provide them with platforms to support data organization and preparation for publication. Some institutions have adopted institutional repositories as the basis for data deposit, whereas others are experimenting with richer environments for data description, in spite of the diversity of existing workflows. This paper is a synthetic overview of current platforms that can be used for data management purposes. Adopting a pragmatic view on data management, the paper focuses on solutions that can be adopted in the long tail of science, where investments in tools and manpower are modest. First, a broad set of data management platforms is presented—some designed for institutional repositories and digital libraries—to select a short list of the more promising ones for data management. These platforms are compared considering their architecture, support for metadata, existing programming interfaces, as well as their search mechanisms and community acceptance. In this process, the stakeholders’ requirements are also taken into account. The results show that there is still plenty of room for improvement, mainly regarding the specificity of data description in different domains, as well as the potential for integration of the data management platforms with existing research management tools. Nevertheless, depending on the context, some platforms can meet all or part of the stakeholders’ requirements.
Global collaboration is the major trend in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry; training in global engineering collaboration thus is highly demanded in existing engineering education. One approach to this training is to expose students to sufficient experiences, such as having them participating in a global project-based course. To do this, the authors participated in and co-designed a global project-based course, called Sky Classroom, from 2014 to 2016. That course, which aimed to teach global engineering collaboration skills, required international students to collaborate in the design of buildings. During the course, we identified three issues in the existing communication platform: low communicability, passive problem finding, and poor spatial cognition. Since the communication platform is the key factor in successful collaboration, we designed and implemented an appropriate platform, the virtual building information modeling (BIM) reviewer (VBR), for addressing these issues. VBR is an avatar-based communication platform that allows users to enter the BIM model and find problems from their individual perspectives. It was developed and continuously improved based on observations of students’ global collaboration behaviors and feedback in Sky Classroom. VBR has undergone two development phases with two virtual reality types, desktop-based and immersive. While the desktop-based VBR solves the issues of low communicability and passive problem finding, the immersive VBR solves the issue of poor spatial cognition, and the application of the VBR in Sky Classroom will solve the issues in the existing communication platform and assist students in collaboration, respectively.
Ambient-assisted living (AAL) is, nowadays, an important research and development area, foreseen as an important instrument to face the demographic aging. The acceptance of the AAL paradigm is closely related to the quality of the available systems, namely in terms of intelligent functions for the user interaction. In that context, usability and accessibility are crucial issues to consider. This paper presents a systematic literature review of AAL technologies, products and services with the objective of establishing the current position regarding user interaction and how are end users involved in the AAL development and evaluation processes. For this purpose, a systematic review of the literature on AAL was undertaken. A total of 1,048 articles were analyzed, 111 of which were mainly related to user interaction and 132 of which described practical AAL systems applied in a specified context and with a well-defined aim. Those articles classified as user interaction and systems were further characterized in terms of objectives, target users, users’ involvement, usability and accessibility issues, settings to be applied, technologies used and development stages. The results show the need to improve the integration and interoperability of the existing technologies and to promote user-centric developments with a strong involvement of end users, namely in what concerns usability and accessibility issues.
Access to the Internet is becoming increasingly important for all generations. However, a digital gap in Internet use remains between younger and older individuals as well as within the elderly population itself. This study, therefore, aimed to investigate Internet use among elderly Europeans. Representative data across 17 countries from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) were examined. Analyses were based on the responses of 61,202 Europeans aged ≥ 50. Results highlight that, on average, 49% of all respondents use the Internet. However, the situation varies widely among European countries. Alongside individual indicators, such as age, gender, and social class, results indicate that previous experience with computers during one’s time in the workplace is positively associated with Internet use in old age. Furthermore, use of the Internet among an individual’s social network positively influences their use. Wider contextual structures such as area of residence and country-specific wealth and communication technology infrastructure also tend to promote Internet use among elderly Europeans. Data from SHARE indicate that private Internet use among older Europeans is driven by personal resources, prior experiences with technology, social salience as well as contextual influences.
Government Web sites aim to provide information to the citizens of the country; therefore, they should be accessible, easy to use and visible via search engines. Based on this assumption, in this paper, the ministry Web sites of four countries namely the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Turkey were analyzed in terms of accessibility and quality in use. Tests were carried out utilizing online automated tools. Results indicate that the usage rate of Information and Communication Technologies by the government is higher in Turkey, which affects the visibility of government Web sites but not their quality in use. Very few ministry Web sites of the four countries achieved AA conformance level on accessibility, many failed to pass conformance level A and AA checkpoints for accessibility errors. In order to ensure equal access to all their citizens, the countries in this study need to put more emphasis on designing government Web sites to be more accessible.
This paper reports on the lessons learnt during the application of a methodology to develop intelligent environments. One important feature of the methodology is that of being strongly user-centred, and the authors report on how that interaction with users took place and how it continuously shaped our project aspirations and outcomes. The methodology was applied to a project which aimed at helping people with Down’s Syndrome and those with similar conditions and needs, to be more included in society. The project was developed by a consortium of commercial, academic, and end user supporting organizations. The paper elaborates on what type of stakeholders engaging activities were considered and how these were distributed along the lifetime of the project and their impact.
Scientific literacy is considered a crucial part of learners’ basic capacities. In primary schools, scientific literacy is generally cultivated through the implementation of a natural science curriculum, in which botany is an essential course. To enhance learning effectiveness, learning activities that involve observing specific plants and carried out in outdoor learning environments have been widely adopted in instructional design. Augmented reality (AR) technology can provide views of the real-world environment simulated by a computer in connection with a target learning object. Hence, AR-based learning material was employed in this study to provide multifaceted views of plants being studied, thereby enhancing the learning experience. To validate the effectiveness of this approach, 54 third-grade students were recruited as participants in a plant observation activity that involved various learning materials. Their learning outcomes when using AR were measured according to Bloom’s cognitive levels, showing the degree of learning achievement for different stages. According to the results, students in the experimental group observing the plants through AR had significantly greater comprehension compared with those in the control group, with respect to conceptual analysis and identification of leaf arrangement. The findings suggest that compared with the traditional learning approach involving plant observation, AR-based learning material could significantly enhance students’ higher-level cognitive capabilities, enabling them to more effectively scaffold knowledge about target plants in the observational learning activity.
This study addresses whether augmented reality (AR)-based online wearable guides are better at improving learners’ situational interest (with regard to the fields of novelty, challenge, attention demand, exploration intention, instant enjoyment, and total interest) and learning achievement (remembering, understanding, and analyzing) compared with audio guides. This study employed a museum as its research site and examined a total of 96 participants who were randomly divided into two groups: one group using AR-based online wearable guides and the other using audio guides. In the experiment, both groups were required to complete a prior knowledge quiz, a scale of situational interest, and a test of learning achievement, as well as contributing post-activity open-format feedback. The results of this study indicate that situational interest and the remembering dimension of learning achievement have a significant and positive correlation, and that, when compared with the audio guide, the AR-based online wearable guide increased the learners’ situational interest and instant enjoyment, as well as the remembering dimension of learning performance. Therefore, the AR-based online wearable guide exhibits the ability to cultivate long-term interest in informal curricula. It is suggested that, when applying AR-based online wearable guides in informal curricula, content difficulty levels should be designed appropriately so that the learners’ instant enjoyment, situational interest, and content remembering performance would not be undermined.
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have a prominent role in achieving universal e-education, i.e., education offered via the Internet to diverse learners around the world independently of their motivations, backgrounds, capacities, and limitations. Regrettably, current MOOCs platforms and contents are not accessible enough for all learners. This study presents the results of a systematic literature review on the combined field of accessible MOOCs that covers from the years 2008 to 2016. We followed a four-staged method than included a within-study and between-study literature analysis, and a descriptive synthesis. A total of 40 relevant studies was identified and mapped to eight research dimensions that form a lifecycle: problem characterization; needs identification; use of industry guidelines, specifications and standards; accessibility requirements specification; architectures; design strategies; verification of accessibility requirements compliance; and validation of user needs satisfaction. The results presented in this study give a head start to researchers interested in pursuing the combined field of accessible MOOCs, providers of MOOCs platforms and contents, as well as decision-makers of educational institutions that offer e-education can also benefit.
Research demonstrates that physical activity beneficially influences brain function, quality of life and reduces cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, many projects and technical developments aim to promote physical activity. As a result of the “quantified self”-movement, a great number of wearable technologies, which are mainly developed for a younger target group, emerged on the market. However, there is a lack of scientific studies to establish which systems are suitable for older adults and there is still little known about seniors’ needs and preferences regarding fitness trackers. In this crossover-designed usability study, 20 older adults aged over 60 took part. In the study, all participants were requested to rate the usability of five of the most widely used fitness trackers (Nike FuelBand, Jawbone Up, Fitbit Flex, Garmin vivofit, Sony SmartBand) and were asked about their preferences. Participants had to rate its ergonomic features such as handling, material and design. Overall, the fitness trackers differ a lot in tracking features, design, usability and acceptance of the seniors. We present an aggregated list of requirements for the “ideal” activity tracker for older adults. The results seem to be of high interest for developers, but also for scientists to choose appropriate sensors for technology-based interventions that may promote physical activity.