Older User Requirements for Location Based Services

Older Users’ Requirements for Location Based Services and Mobile Phones

Zaheer Osman, Martin Maguire and Mikko Tarkiainen

Ergonomics and Safety Research Institute, Loughborough University, Holywell Building, Holywell Way, Loughborough, UK  LE11 3UZ

Tel: +44 01509 283 300

{z.osman, m.c.maguire}@lboro.ac.uk  mikko.tarkiainen@vtt.fi

Abstract.   It is important that studies are carried out to enable developers of new products and services to take into consideration the requirements of the older population and work towards an inclusive design.  This paper presents two studies carried out to determine the attitudes and requirements of older users towards location based services and their needs for mobile phone functions and features.  The resulting implications and benefits for the developers of future products and services are briefly discussed.


Technological advances are occurring at a more rapid pace than ever before and have allowed the development of evermore sophisticated and ubiquitous products and services.  In order for technology and services to be successful, they need to be embraced by the population.  An example of this is the mobile phone which is now a commonly owned device.  Location based services (LBS) are services in which the location of a person or an object is used to shape or focus the application or service (Duri 2001). According to a new report from ARC Group[1], LBS will account for over 40% of operators’ mobile data services revenues in 2007,


It is apparent that people in modern day society are living longer compared to their predecessors.  This is leading to an increased number of “Third Agers” (people 55 years and over).  Coleman (2001) estimated that by the year 2020 almost half the adult population in the UK would be over 50 years of age.  If products and services do not include this age group in their development processes then market exploitation will be adversely affected.    Meeting the requirements of the older and younger age groups can be achieved by taking an inclusive design approach.  Hardie and Plaice (1991) defined inclusive design as “an approach to creating environments and products that are usable by all people to the greatest extent possible”.  A question that needs answering is whether the developers of products and services are taking the rapidly growing older population into consideration.  This paper is an initial attempt to address this need for LBS and mobile phones.

[1]  ARC Group Press Release, LONDON, 19 August 2002 http://www.arcgroup.com/index.html


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Older User Requirements for Location Based Services

Holiday Ergonomics – Experience of Practitioners

Holiday ergonomics – experiences of practitioners on vacation



Martin Maguire, Colette Nicolle, Suzanne Lockyer
Magdelan Galley, Victoria Haines, Edward Elton, Zaheer Osman



Ergonomics and Safety Research Institute (ESRI)

Loughborough University, Holywell Building

Holywell Way, Loughborough, Leics, LE11 3UZ, UK. 





A group of practitioners collaborated reporting ergonomic issues experienced during their holidays. While poor ergonomics made a big impression on the vacationers, good well-designed aspects of their holidays demonstrate the benefits that ergonomics can bring.





When on holiday, ergonomists sometimes find it difficult to “switch off”. Since ergonomics is concerned with designing tools, products, equipment and systems to be fit for human use, this can apply as much to being on vacation is being at home or at work. What is distinctive about ergonomics applied to vacations? Firstly hopes and expectations when going on holiday are usually high so encountering difficulties cause greater disappointment. Also people try to relax on holiday so are more easily caught out by poorly designed equipment. Furthermore, holidaymakers are often novice users of equipment, unaware that a deckchair is hazardous or that a beach umbrella will easily turn inside out. The paper describes recent experiences, both positive and negative, for a group of ergonomics practitioners at Loughborough University.

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Holiday Ergonomics – Experience of Practitioners

Enabling wider access to mobile information services

Enabling wider access to mobile information services

Mikko Tarkiainen1, Zaheer Osman2 and Andrew May2
1 VTT Industrial Systems, P.O.Box 1302, FIN-33101 Tampere,
2 Transport Technology Ergonomics Centre (TTEC), Ergonomics & Safety Research
Institute (ESRI), Holywell Building, Holywell Way , Loughborough,



Mobile information services are still struggling to
enter the mass-market. This paper outlines results of a study into the
requirements for (location-based) information services and discusses
implications for enhanced mobile service design. The research results
show that aspects such as human-human interaction, personalisation of
services and easy access to information are key factors in the design
and delivery of successful mobile information services. Perspectives on
technology adoption and customer-supplier relationships, and recent
research on mobile services, help explain why certain users may prefer
to use their existing mobile phones to access these services, rather than
start using new technology. This paper outlines the user and
commercial advantages of using a call centre approach to service
interaction, and shows how a multimodal (voice/data) information
delivery approach could be utilised.


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Wider Access to Mobile Services

Designing for Older and Inexperienced Mobile Phone Users

Designing for older and inexperienced
mobile phone users


Martin Maguire and Zaheer Osman


Ergonomics and Safety research Institute (ESRI)

Loughborough University

Holywell Road, Holywell Way

Loughborough LE11 3UZ, UK

m.c.maguire@lboro.ac.uk, z.osman@lboro.ac.uk





It is commonly suggested that a simpler mobile phone be made available for inexperienced users, including those older users. It is thought that this should have fewer functions, larger keys, bigger characters on the display etc. Yet while the idea of a simpler phone appears to offer a clear market opportunity, it should be remembered that, with the power of fashion, modern design and advertising, inexperienced users are likely to want to own a mainstream phone, rather than a special simpler one. Similarly, while there is a perception that inexperienced users just want to make voice calls, it is quite likely that they will also want to make use of new information services that are being developed. This paper presents the results of a series of studies with inexperienced and older users of mobile phones. It explores the problems that such users currently experience with mobile phones and the design issues that result. It looks at the kind of functions and features that such users would want in a new phone and reviews their interest in location-based services.

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Internet Requirements of People with Communication Needs

Learning from Internet Requirements
of People with Communication Needs

Colette Nicolle1, Zaheer Osman1, Katharine Black2, and Andrew Lysley2

1Ergonomics and Safety Research Institute (ESRI), Loughborough University,
Holywell Building, Holywell Way,
Loughborough, Leics.
LE11 3UZ, United Kingdom

c.a.nicolle@lboro.ac.uk, z.osman@lboro.ac.uk

2ACE Centre Advisory Trust, 92 Windmill Road, Headington,
Oxford   OX3 7DR, United Kingdom

black@ace-centre.org.uk, lysley@ace-centre.org.uk

Abstract. A supportive Web browser, developed by the EU WWAAC project, aims to make the Internet easier to use by people with complex communication needs who use graphic symbol-based augmentative and alternative communication aids. Further user consultations with older users, people with aphasia and dyslexia have demonstrated that the ability to personalise Internet software (for example, through the provision of simple summaries of content and the ability to configure the interface to suit individual needs) can potentially provide more accessible and usable interfaces for other user groups.

1   Introduction

The goal of the EU WWAAC project (World Wide Augmentative and Alternative Communication) is to make the electronic highway more accessible and usable for people who have complex communication difficulties and who use graphic symbol-based augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) aids (http://www.wwaac.org). Despite advances in commercially available assistive technologies, people using AAC have commented on continuing difficulty and frustration in physical access to technology and subsequent reliance on non-disabled partners (Murphy, et al., 1996; Clarke et al., 2002). Therefore, one of the key objectives and evaluation criteria of the WWAAC project is to enable a higher degree of independent access for people with communication difficulties.

A number of research and development activities have been taking place since the project began in January 2001, including the development of an adapted Web browser email package, and supportive writing software, all tailored to the needs of people who use graphic-symbol based AAC. These developments have been informed and refined through an iterative design and evaluation process, beginning with a survey of the requirements of end-users and their facilitators, followed by simulator studies, and alpha and beta evaluations with AAC users.

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ICCHP WWAAC paper_zo

CareOnLine – Helping the elderly with computers and the Internet

Introducing computers and the Internet to older users: findings from the Care OnLine project

zaheer osman, david poulson

Ergonomics and Safety Research Institute (ESRI)
Loughborough University
Holywell Building, Holywell Way, Loughborough, Leics. LE11 3UZ

z.osman@lboro.ac.uk, d.f.poulson@lboro.ac.uk

Telephone: +44 (0) 1509 283300

Fax:        +44 (0) 1509 283360

Category: Long paper

Keywords: Elderly, attitudes, computer, Internet, Internet scheme, training and support

Abstract: This paper reports the findings from a two year pilot project called Care OnLine.  The Care OnLine project has introduced computers and the Internet into the homes of 50 elderly and vulnerable volunteers and provided shared Internet access at 5 shared schemes housing older people across the Market Harbrorough district of Leicestershire.  A specific web portal was designed that was geared towards older and vulnerable people and provided links to relevant websites and information about the different services available to them.   All the volunteers were provided with training in using computers and the Internet and interviewed regarding their experience.  Findings regarding their attitudes and experiences towards computers and the Internet are reported.  The impact having access to computers and Internet had on the volunteers and some lessons learnt from providing such a scheme are also discussed in this paper.

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COL Paper for UAIS

Ergonomics in Food Manufacturing and Production Study

The Common Automation System Processes and Ergonomics Research (CASPER)

Project was initiated in September 2003, as a nine month study under the DEFRA LINK Programme.  The project has been managed by INBIS, with support from the University of Salford, and the Ergonomics and Safety Research Institute (ESRI, part of Loughborough University, lead by Zaheer Osman and Clare Lawton). This consortium provides a professional grouping to cover the width of requirements in industrial evaluation and processes, with the academic research capabilities in automation and ergonomics.


The study involved four food sector companies, across a range of sectors and products including bakery, convenience foods, meat and fish.  The objective was to determine the risks (mental and physical) to the workers involved in the production processes applied in the sector in ergonomics terms and consideration of potential common approaches to automation that may arise from looking across the sector.


A combination of observation based techniques, ergonomic risk analysis tools, workstation measurements and interviews with the production line workers were conducted.  This was then supported by discussions with management personnel and assessment of health and safety statistics.

The stakeholders either affecting the process or affected by the process are outlined below:

The results have confirmed that high repetition activities are causing and increasing risks of Work Related Upper Limb Disorders (WRULD’s) in the sector, and recommendations have been provided to each of the companies in the programme.

The study has also recommended that ergonomics and independent process review techniques, are applied as part of the business process to change production systems, or introduce greater automation. The human to machine interaction is an area that has shown potential scope of considerable improvement from the study. A further recommendation has been to apply ergonomic risk models as part of the business cases for process improvement and automation. This adds an additional dimension, and benefits to businesses.


This is an area that the INBIS, Salford, and Loughborough consortium believe the experience from the programme can be applied elsewhere in the sector which can generate considerable benefits for both businesses and the individuals working in production areas, and are keen to discuss this further with companies to optimise processes, apply automation, and human to machine interaction and design, and ergonomics analysis techniques.


Contact:  zaheer.osman@adeptergonomics.co.uk


By Zaheer Osman & Clare Lawton (ESRI), Patrick Williams (INBIS), John Gray (Salford University)


6 top tips for sit stand users from an ergonomist

As an ergonomist I get the opportunity to visit many organisations. An increasing trend in the UK over the last 3 or 4 years is the installation of sit-stand desking systems or desk top accessories either as a complete installation or a part of the furniture offering provided by the organisation.

I have yet to visit a sit-stand installation where the majority of users have a good understanding of how they can gain the maximum benefit. Usually you have the really enthusiastic users who will stand up for hours at a time for fitness and calorie burning benefits and at the other end of the spectrum you’ll have the apathetic ‘I can’t be bothered with this fad’ users.

This has worried me somewhat and has led me to write this short summary of how to gain the maximum benefit from sit-stand desking as I think a sit-stand desk used properly is an ergonomist’s dream come true. This is because a sit-stand desk used properly can contribute to healthy postural variation throughout the working day if used properly, it can also help improve wellbeing and productivity.

Variation in posture would encourage movement and activity which in turn will improve blood circulation and help pool away lactic acids within the muscles and reduce fatigue. The discs in our spine do not have a direct blood supply, one of the ways discs get nutrients is through convection caused by movement. Our bodies thrive on movement and activity. The key factor to be aware of when using a sit-stand desk is that any posture adopted for prolonged periods is problematic for the human body.

Here are my six top tips to get the most of your sit – stand desk:

1) Aim for two postural changes per hour, sit for 40 minutes and stand for 20 minutes. This will allow you to get the benefit of both postures without the negatives setting in

2) When sitting or standing ensure that the desk is at the correct height, supporting the underside of your forearms when your elbows are at right angles without elevating your shoulders

3) When sitting set your chair up to support your lower back and unlock the chair to allow healthy movement

4) Keep the top of your screen in line with your eyes, this will allow the screen to be viewed comfortably without excessive flexion or extension of your neck

5) Keep your keyboard and mouse within easy reach. You should not have to move your upper arms away from your body to use them.

6) Remember a sit stand desk doesn’t replace the benefits of walking. Stand up and walk for at least 2-3 minutes every hour. This will allow healthy blood circulation and promote nutrient transfer to the discs in your spine.

Zaheer Osman (Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors)


Publications by Senior Ergonomics Consultant

The file below provides a short summary outlining some of the published papers for our senior chartered ergonomics consultant.

Personal Publications Record v3

DSE and Office Ergonomics Research Summary

The white paper below was written in 2005 by Zaheer Osman but still contains a lot of relevant information about ergonomics in the office, Display Screen equipment and seating. The document summarises the following:

1) Relevant guidance, standards and legislation

2) Statistics

3) Information on different seating concepts and their effectiveness

4) Other chairs on the market

5) The human body

6) The future of the workplace

DSE Office Ergonomics – Brief Summary of Research