Co-designing a diversity of social media products with and for older people

David M. Frohlich, Sze Chong Lim, Amr Ahmed

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
414 Downloads (Pure)


Social media products and services have the potential to address issues of social isolation in later life, when social contact often declines. However, issues of accessibility, functionality and control appear to deter the use of existing systems by some parts of the older population. In this paper, we describe a literature review and co-design exploration to understand and address these issues. Using a methodology we call Focusgroup+, we presented new product concepts to both digitally engaged and digitally unengaged groups of older people for critique and re-design. The concepts were based on familiar devices and included a Photo Phone concept for multimedia communication, a TV Talk concept for social TV, and a Twitter Well concept for broadcast text messaging. Findings from the re-design exercise show that groups responded differently to the same concepts based on their existing skills and equipment, and took them in different design directions to accommodate common preferences for meaningful communication with relatively small groups of key contacts. This led to a diversity of both appliances and apps that better reflected the diversity of participants themselves.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDSAI 2016
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 7th International Conference on Software Development and Technologies for Enhancing Accessibility and Fighting Info-exclusion
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781450347488
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceedings Series
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery


  • Co-design
  • social networking
  • social communication
  • older people
  • accessibility
  • Focusgroup+
  • social isolation


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