providers. A total of 22 elderly subjects participated, including equal numbers of males and females. Their mean age was 72.5 years. The experiments included a remote appointment with a doctor, a dental hygienist's presentation of oral hygiene, office workers' presentation of themselves and their work, consultation of a doctor concerning the treatment of leg ulcers, social workers' presentation of the available services, and a public health nurse's lecture on diabetes. Altogether 20 deaf or hearing-impaired subjecs tested the videophone, most of them middle-aged or older. Several realistic situations were simulated.
In the field experiment, the videophone contacts between the home care workers and the elderly subjects were notably active. The subjects asked a number of questions concerning their health. When leg ulcers, rashes, scabs and bruises were evaluated over the videophone, it turned out that the three-dimensional view was inadequate. Illumination and correct reproduction of colours also appeared to be of notable importance. It was not possible to elicit the elderly persons' experiences of banking services, because the experimental connection with the bank was short and the timing was not good. Before the experiment, 64% of the elderly subjects believed in an increase of videophones, while the corresponding percentage after the experiment was 75%. Before the experiment, only 18% of the elderly considered the videophone to be easy to use, while 50% gave such an assessment after the experiment. The best benefits of the videophone were the visual contact and the possibility to establish a connection easily and quickly. It was further pointed out that the videophone greatly facilitated the life of persons with limited mobility, and videophone contacts were even compared to visiting and considered to alleviate loneliness. Practically the only perceived drawback was the high price.
Of the deaf subjects, the users of sign language, only 55% were able to read or write Finnish. Of the participants, 90% believed that videophones will become an increasingly common tool for the deaf. Only two subjects (10%) had previous experiences of videotelephony. Altogether 65% considered the videophone to be useful in their daily activities, and 85% evaluated its use as easy or relatively easy. Sign language conversation over a videophone was thought to be moderately successful by 55% of the subjects, and nobody found it difficult.
Of the different service providers (N = 80), 88% were female. Their mean age was 37.7 years. No previous experience of videophones was reported by 95%. The majority of respondents found the videophone a practicable, useful and even moderately good tool (Table 2). As many as 70% of the respondents said that the videophone met their expectations the first time they used it, and 25%