Evaluating a Smartphone-Based Social Participation App for the Elderly
Hyper-aging societies are looking for ways to support their elderly populations and mitigate aging-related societal challenges. One way to do this is by increasing elders’ social participation in the workforce and their communities. Towards this end, an opportunity-matching app for Japanese elders called GBER (Gathering Brisk Elderly in the Region) was created and deployed in a large Japanese city. In this paper, we report on the results of a usability and user experience (UX) study that evaluated a new version of the app’s user interface (UI), which was redesigned for smartphones based on feedback from current users and by taking an elder-centric design approach. The study, which involved representative elderly users, revealed several insights about the use of flat UI design, conceptual transferability of common app iconography, information reading patterns, and persona and scenario methodology. It also confirmed the diversity of Japanese elders interests and skills, providing further empirical support for the need for an opportunity-matching service like GBER.
KeywordsUser interface Smartphone Aging Elderly Senior workforce Senior community Social participation
This paper is based on results obtained from a project commissioned by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) under the Strategic Promotion of Innovative Research and Development Program. We thank Second Life Factory for their cooperation. We also thank the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Tokyo for hosting the study. We are grateful to our research assistants Seito Matsubara and Kao-Hua “Maark” Liu for helping us run the study. Finally, we thank our elderly participants for their time, effort, and insights.
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