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    Designing a Touch Screen Communication Device to Support Social Interaction amongst Older Adults

    People and Computers XXIV Games are a Serious Business

    Proceedings of HCI 2010
    The 24th British HCI Group Annual Conference
    University of Abertay, Dundee, UK

    6 - 10 September 2010


    Julie Doyle, Zoran Skrba, Ronan McDonnell and Ben Arent


    As people age, social connections can be lost due to a number of factors. Technology can enhance an older person’s social connectedness, facilitating the creation of new connections, as well as the maintenance of existing ones. As part of the Building Bridges project, a communication device was deployed in 9 older adult’s homes and evaluated over a period of 7-9 weeks. The goals of the study were to assess the usability of the device, to explore attitudes towards it and to gather insights into potential target user groups who may benefit from such technology. We present our findings which highlight the importance of feedback and confirmation in increasing the usability of a technology device for older adults. Emergent themes surrounding older adults’ attitudes to using such technology to keep in touch, include the importance of perceived usefulness and the ability to have some level of control over when communication occurs and with whom.


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