Inclusive technologies for enhancing the accessibility of digital interactive television for older adults

  • Amritpal Singh Bhachu

    Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Philosophy


    Digital Interactive Television (DITV) has revolutionised television, with a multitude of new channels, services and features available through this platform. However, the way in which we interact with TV remains the same, with the traditional remote control used to control the various on-screen options. This brings with it a range of issues considering the complexity of DITV menu systems and the limited simple functionality of the remote control.

    This poses problems for the general population. However, for older adults, these problems can be further amplified, particularly with the potential of age related declines in physical, sensory and cognitive abilities.

    This thesis describes the studies done to investigate if there are viable alternatives to the standard Digital Interactive Television (DITV) remote control for use by older adults over the age of 60.

    An extensive literature review was first conducted, followed by exploratory studies to investigate further the findings from the literature review. These exploratory studies took the form of a focus group with older adults followed by an initial exploratory study to understand how older adults reacted to a gesture based controller, in this case the Nintendo Wii, in a DITV like environment.

    A larger study was then conducted to directly compare a standard remote control against a tablet PC that was used as a second screen interface, and a gesture controller. This gave indication of whether the tablet PC, gesture controller, or both could be considered as alternatives to the traditional TV remote control.

    The results of this study showed that the tablet PC and gesture pointer had the potential to be alternatives as control devices for older adults accessing DITV. The quantitative results did not show the standard remote control to be superior to the other devices in any of the tasks conducted, and the qualitative results showed that the participants were open to the other devices taking the place of their remote control in a DITV environment with considerations taken on board.
    Date of Award2012
    Original languageEnglish
    SponsorsEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
    SupervisorPeter Gregor (Supervisor), Vicki Hanson (Supervisor), Michael Evans (Supervisor) & Karen Petrie (Supervisor)


    • Accessibility
    • Older adults
    • Television
    • Usability

    Cite this