Designing social networking sites for older adults

Gibson, Lorna and Moncur, Wendy and Forbes, Paula and Arnott, John and Martin, Christopher and Bhachu, Amritpal S. (2010) Designing social networking sites for older adults. In: 2010 British Computer Society Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, BCS-HCI 2010, 2010-09-06 - 2010-09-10. (

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The importance of older adults’ social networks in providing practical, emotional and informational support is well documented. In this paper, we reflect on the personal social networks of older adults, and the shortcomings of existing online Social Networking Sites (SNSs) in supporting their needs. We report findings from ethnographic interviews, focus groups and hands-on demonstrations with older adults, where we find key themes affecting adoption of SNSs. We then consider design aspects that should be taken into account for future SNSs, if they are to meet the preferences of older users.