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Comunicar Journal 45: Communicating in an Ageing World (Vol. 23 - 2015)

Design patterns to enhance accessibility and use of social applications for older adults


The aim of this paper is to present a non-exhaustive set of 36 design patterns for interactive social applications used by older adults. This proposal represents a reliable starting point for designers/developers to easily incorporate usability in interfaces for said technology promoting technology acceptance, use and adoption among older adults. The proposed patterns were based on previous efforts commonly presented as a design criteria and guidelines to describe usability issues in this kind of interfaces, reinforcing those alternatives by specifying related usability issues and providing solutions in a pattern-fashion useful for designers/developers. Pertinence of the patterns was analyzed through a usability study implementing «heuristic evaluation» technique (frequently used in Human-Computer Interaction to obtain users’ perception on a particular design). The study was conducted from two perspectives: the vantage point from experts, and the perception of a social group of older adults. The analysis revealed the proposed patterns are conducive to create well-designed interfaces able to provide a better user experience, encouraging a positive impact in the quality of life in older adults.