Usability assessment gives practical ideas for product
development in companies struggling with their daily
business interests. In designing usable products, the aim
is towards products which are easy to use, safe and
appropriate for the intended use. This is even more
important when the product is aimed for elderly users,
since the inabilities of older people are often difficult
to comprehend for younger, physically and technically
skilled, product developers.
In this study, the usability of an exercise bike,
designed to be used by elderly people at home was tested
and evaluated. This paper introduces the methods used,
the results obtained, and the means for developing the
usability of the exercise bike.
The study began with an usability evaluation of the
prototype. The usability tests were performed at a
rehabilitation centre. Eight persons, aged between 54 and
80 years of age, were involved in the testing. The tests
focused on adjusting the bike for the user, biking with
different additional activities like watching the
television or reading a magazine, and moving the bike
around. The usability tests were complemented with an
expert evaluation. This included an analysis of the
ergonomics and the safety of the exercise bike, and an
evaluation of the user manual.
The usability evaluation was continued on a "pilot
production" bike. This included unpacking and assembling
the exercise bike. The evaluation was performed by
usability experts and a target group subject.
The study showed that a systematic approach for assessing
the usability of a product will give the product
developers practical ideas for improving their products.
Although the physical ergonomics of the bike was highly
praised by the users, weaknesses were identified in the
information ergonomics, for example, in the symbols on
the user panel and in the user manual.
|Series||European Consumer Safety Association. Report|
|Conference||5th International Conference on Product Safety Research|
|Period||15/04/97 → 16/04/97|