Design of Social Network Services for and with Older Adults
Social network services are one example of how technology can help address social isolation. However, many attempts at creating social networks for older adults have failed. The reasons for the failures are complex but are often a consequence of poorly designed solutions. As a part of our research, we have designed different interfaces for Facebook, the largest social network service, aiming to address these issues. We have followed a co-design process, actively involving older adults in the understanding, conceptualisation and validation stages, that is, throughout the whole design cycle of the interfaces. This chapter discusses the design approach followed, in the context of the developed prototypes. It also highlights the challenges faced when working with older adults (e.g. accessing their knowledge; unwillingness to participate in formal evaluation activities) and how we addressed them (e.g. using techniques that focus on the concrete instead of the abstract; evaluating as if we were designing) and presents an overview of the different user research techniques employed. Even though the research reported here has focused on the design of interfaces for social network services, this knowledge can be beneficial for those researching other types of digital services for older adults.
KeywordsOlder adults Social network services Co-design Prototyping Understanding Conceptualisation Validation Reflections
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