Designing an information, communication and entertainment interface for SMART retirement living

Authors: Ledingham, G., Cotterill, E. and Dogan, H.

Start date: 19 April 2021

COVID-19 has left society and adults over the age of 65 needing to redefine daily life, to overcome deteriorating physical and mental wellbeing. Social distancing requirements in retirement communities have left residents feeling alienated, which has accelerated the need to acquire more unfamiliar technology in order to resume as near a normal life as possible. Two retirement community studies in Florida USA and Scotland UK, were undertaken to determine if an information, communication and entertainment technology interface could overcome accessibility and parsimonious factors to become a viable precursor to next generation SMART retirement living. Thirty-six respondents in an online survey indicated notable SMART phone, laptop and tablet use; however perceived usefulness of social media and video telephony varied. These would all be key elements of any digital retirement community. Semi-structured interviews illustrated increased narrow technology use of heterogeneous online services but posed ergonomic and pedagogical questions. A purpose-built low fidelity prototype was proposed and tested using a Cognitive Walk Through and Concurrent Think Aloud. It may have indicated an attractive solution, but concerns around residents’ privacy, security and the perceived freedom of choice would need further exploration. User experience (UX) designers and retirement operators will need to consider these influencing factors within future studies if they are to create a SMART living interface which builds self-efficacy and strengthens social connectedness over time.

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