Cross-National Usability Study of a Housing Accessibility App: Findings From the European InnovAge Project

Oskar Jonsson, Maria Haak, Signe Tomsone, Susanne Iwarsson, Steven M. Schmidt, Knut Martensson, Torbjorn Svensson, Bjorn Slaug

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present usability study concerns an evaluation of an Android based mobile application (app) targeting housing accessibility issues, in a prototype stage for a touch tablet. The objective was to identify and compare elicited usability issues involving senior citizens in two different national contexts: Sweden and Latvia. Applying a problem discovery approach, the study included individual sessions in home environments and follow-up user forums; researchers and user panel participants collaborated to formatively evaluate the app. To support decision-making, the task for the participants was to process information about their present or projected future functional capacity and environmental barriers in their current dwelling. The task was also to make use of a database of professionally assessed available apartments that could be considered for relocation. Data generated in the two countries were analyzed and compared.
The results generated new knowledge on relevant usability issues in the two countries and were used to provide design recommendations for the app. The identified usability issues point to a need for a more thorough exploration of design solutions that are tailored for the targeted group of people aging with functional limitations. The results also highlight how national and cultural contexts may influence perceived usability and acceptance and thereby indicate the need to consider these contexts early on and throughout the development process.
Tips for usability practitioners: Be aware of possible cross-national differences and handle those challenges in a structured and predefined way, and use real data and real sites to reach close and first-hand experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-49
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


  • aging
  • culture
  • functional capacity
  • ICT products
  • housing provision
  • mobile applications
  • user interface
  • user involvement
  • social innovation
  • software development

Field of Science*

  • 3.3 Health sciences

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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