Proceedings of the 32nd International BCS Human Computer Interaction Conference (HCI)
Human Computer Interaction Conference
4 - 6 July 2018
Online Social Networks are regarded as one of the biggest successes of the Internet. Facebook, for example, has over 1.59 billion monthly active users. Online Social Networks offer one potential strategy for addressing feelings of social isolation amongst the aging population. Nevertheless, many older people do not use online social networks due to barriers resulting from a lack of understanding, and perceived usefulness of these services. This paper presents the findings from a ten-week training course where participants were trained to use Facebook and introduced to a novel web application, called EasiSocial, which personalises Facebook’s user interface (UI), for use by older users. An evaluation study was undertaken with 9 users (69–80 years old, mean age 75.2, ST DEV 3.231) of both services to highlight existing adoption barriers and to validate the hypothesis that personalising the UI of online social media services can promote engagement.. Our analysis demonstrated that EasiSocial was statistically significantly ‘easier’ (p-value < 0.05) to learn and use than the standard Facebook UI and therefore potentially helpful to increase the adoption of social media technologies. The study also highlighted that training plays an important role in supporting adoption. Recommendations for both development and training are highlighted.