M1: The Idea

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1. System Introduction

Flow is a tablet-based communication application that helps older adults’ social communication. Especially, it focuses on finding their high school or university friends, which would be a great chance for them to re-build friendship and re-connect with their distant old friends. This system features easy, intuitive socialization for all generations. Different from the Facebook, it is focused on categorizing archived stories and friends list.

2. User Description

Flow’s users are older adults who would like to communicate with their old friends. The major anticipated user ages are from 60 years old to 95years old.

3. System Description

3-1 Problem
Although older adults think about interactive good relationship with others as a priority aspect in their late life (Ryff, 1989), they encounter difficulty with interactive social connection with others due to their physical declines, mental declines, and other external factors. Rebecca and Camille (2002) introduced widowed older adults’ social participation and explored how it is changed over time between older married and widowed persons. The research indicated that among two categories: formal involvement such as volunteering in a group meeting and religious participation, and informal involvement such as relative contact and interaction with friends, older adults who lost their spouse tend to actively participate in informal social involvement to cope with their emotional depression appearing as an effect of widowhood. Mostly their friends and relatives are willing to help their widowed friends.

3-2 Problem Solving Strategy
Sinclair and Grieve (2017) examined social connectedness of older adults in both face-to-face connection and online connection. According to the research, older adults have a similar feeling of social engagement through online connection comparing with face-to-face conversation and we can assume that online social network would be an alternative method for those older adults who are less able to connect face-to-face with others or who are finding their distance old friends. Therefore, Social Network Services (SNSs) will be a good place to start their communication. However, according to Jung, Walden, Johnson, & Sundar (2017), older adults are concerned about using Facebook or SNSs due to privacy setting, superficial interactions and are less comfortable uploading their personal stories.

3-3 System’s Goals
This study started to create a story-based communication platform where older adults are able to communicate in a comfortable space with their intimate old friends and family members. The application Flow will focus on richer story-based interactions instead of Facebook, which is largely short superficial bits of thoughts, feelings, or news. The stories in Facebook are passing us by quickly and it is harder to find previous news and stories. Memorable stories and friends in Flow can be stored in chronological order within proper categories to help users search for any story or friend. They can find their high school and university friends who are already familiar in their memory, and rebuilding and reuniting with them.

The design was developed focusing on easy to search school years’ friends, simple to record stories, and the intuitive setting for individual users. Therefore, older adults who use this application can find their old friends who met in their high school or college and can maintain a more intimate relationship online. The first aim of this study is investigating whether the new social network application design for older adults extended social networking online. Focusing more on a well-organized album and a friend list would be a better method than a wide social networking like Facebook. The second aim is that this study assumes that the new interaction with old friends who have the same experiences would create intimate and safe communication and interaction.

4. Introduction of myself

I am a graduate student pursuing MS in HCI and graduated from MFA in Graphic design at Iowa State University. This study came from the previous project of application development. After conducting the user study, I found several points that I needed to revise. My goal of this study is to verify the usability of this new application prototype.



Jung, E. H., Walden, J., Johnson, A. C., & Sundar, S. S. (2017). Social networking in the aging context: Why older adults use or avoid Facebook. Telematics and Informatics, (April 2016). http://doi.org/10.1016/j.tele.2017.04.015

Rebecca, L., & Camille, B. (2002). The effect of widowhood on older adults ’ social participation : An …, 42(4), 522–533.

Ryff, C. D. (1989). In the eye of the beholder: views of psychological well-being among middle-aged and older adults. Psychology and Aging, 4(2), 195.

Sinclair, T. J., & Grieve, R. (2017). Facebook as a source of social connectedness in older adults. Computers in Human Behavior, 66, 363–369. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.10.003