Television (TV) is a medium of entertainment, education, and information. Similar to acoustic sirens and radios, it is an emergency channel that is of significance when relaying public announcements (Ellis and Kent 2015). Therefore, its accessibility is an important factor in ensuring everyone in a population benefits from its operation. Its accessibility can be improved by the provision of access services or redefining its programs. Consequently, utilization of assistive technologies can also be used to improve its accessibility. For instance, usage of remote controls with legible buttons and the availability of a wireless connection between the viewers’ hearing aid and the TV. This research will analyze TV remote control designs for the elderly.
There are various TV remote control systems that are designed specifically for the elderly. For instance, the ACCENTA remote control, which provides the choice of a totally hand-held operation or hands-free voice. It further provides the user with a voice-feedback that informs them of the choice of button they have pressed. Such a characterization is aimed at minimizing guessing and the difficulty in learning how to operate remote controls.
Many elderly people are characterized by a low vision and dexterity. Utilization of the Tek Partner Universal Big Button Remote Control-a large sized RCS (Remote Control System) enables for incorporation of more oversized buttons, and thus, minimizing the chances of losing the keys (Schröppel and Wartzack 2018).
The Simple Remote Control and the Flipper Big Button Universal Remote employs the same principle of incorporating big and visible buttons for the elderly. The Simple Remote Control is characterized by large buttons, which are tailored to the needs of seniors or the elderly persons (CanAssist n.d). It is comprised of the option to use standard accessibility switches and utilizes radio frequency, and therefore, do not require direct pointing to the TV. Flipper Big Button Universal Remote for seniors, on the other hand, has six major big buttons, though it can slide to reveal more buttons (FLIPPER 2018). It is programmed to hold up to 30 favorite TV channels and can control other devices like the DVD player and the sound bar. Other remote controls that are used by the elders are the Infrared Remote Control and the RF remote control.
From this research, it is imperative that the elderly utilize simple remote controls that are characterized with the availability of bigger buttons. The research has ascertained that this is aimed at minimizing guessing and the difficulty in learning the usage of remote controls. Consequently, many of the remote controls for this population incorporate the radio frequency signals to minimize program selection issues.
CanAssist (n.d.). Simple Remote Control. [online] https://www.canassist.ca. Available at: https://www.canassist.ca/EN/main/programs/technologies-and-devices/at-home/two-button-remote-control.html [Accessed 29 Oct. 2019].
Ellis, K. and Kent, M., 2015. Accessible television: The new frontier in disability media studies brings together industry innovation, government legislation and online activism. First Monday, 20(9).
FLIPPER (2018). How Universal Remote Controls Work — Big Button Jumbo Universal TV Remote for Seniors. [online] Big Button Jumbo Universal TV Remote for Seniors. Available at: https://flipperremote.com/how-universal-remote-controls-work [Accessed 29 Oct. 2019].
Schröppel, T. and Wartzack, S., 2018. Making a difference: Integrating physiological and psychological needs in user description. DS 91: Proceedings of NordDesign 2018, Linköping, Sweden, 14th-17th August 2018.