Sharing emotion is one aspect of communication between humans. Throughout human history people have regularly met face to face in order to share or collect information and to experience emotional interaction. As technology rapidly developed the means of communication have dramatically moved to online space through social communication methods or through online information spaces where people comment or write their ideas and thoughts. Although most audiences now use online communication methods, the older population has been relatively neglected in the industry because they are sometimes considered customers outside the major market. The main goal of this study was (1) to develop a technology-friendly interface design prototype based on a touch-based tablet application using universal design principles and (2) to assess the prototype design through several research methods such as field observation, surveys, and interviews. This study can expand designers’ knowledge for the next step of application of development for older adults.
This study found that even though older adults are sometimes isolated from society, they might think of relationships as an important part of their later life. Although technology may be harder for older adults to learn, this study found it possible if older adults are willing to learn and use a communication application.
This study also found that intuitive visual cues might play an important role in aiding older adults to grasp and understand the structure of an application. Technology-friendly interface design can enable older adults to use technology routinely in their daily lives. The designer’s role in this process would be to seek better understanding through the user study and to find the visual elements to provide a technology-friendly environment for older adults.