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Title: An investigation into improving the usability of social media for older users and their carers
Author: Boyd, Kyle
ISNI:       0000 0004 5360 2427
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2014
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By 2050, 2 billion people in the world will be 60 years old, or older. With the rise in an ageing population a plethora of problems associated with healthcare for older people and their carers is anticipated. Social media is an interactive facet of the Internet, which is presented as a potential panacea for the challenges faced due to ageing and particularly that of social isolation. Work presented in this Thesis contributes knowledge to the design, usability and adoption of social media for older people and their carers. A review of social media in healthcare highlighted issues involving the design, usability, training and barriers to adoption of technology for both older people and carers. These issues guided the focus on the five studies presented within the Thesis. A study establishing the barriers that older people and carers face regarding adoption of social media was undertaken. As a result set of recommendations for training older people to use social media has been proposed. An evaluation was conducted to explore the usability of online social networks. This study established usability issues with Facebook in that the current user interface design and experience did not meet the needs of older people. Subsequently a optimised web interface was designed called EasiSocial which used the Facebook platform but displayed the interface in a way, which was suitable for older people. Results following the evaluation indicated there was significant difference in ease of use (p=0.0937) and ease of learning (p=O.0036) between Facebook and EasiSocial. This shows that statistically that EasiSocial was easier to use and learn than Facebook. A set of recommendations for designing online social networks for older people has been proposed. The increased use of social media has seen a rise in online training material available for carers, teaching them how to care for older people. Subsequently usability evaluations were undertaken and solutions to issues proposed. The incorporation of these findings within the design of social media will help to ensure that the technology can be adopted and meets its full potential, particularly in the challenging role of supporting the health and wellbeing of older people and their carers
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available