Examining Engagement and Usability in an Online Discussion Platform for Older Adults: Findings From Pilot Studies.

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Computers, informatics, nursing : CIN


washington; seattle


Social media may facilitate older adults' ability to engage socially and explore health information, but it can present difficulties for older adults. Therefore, it is important to explore older adults' experience of usability and user engagement. We conducted two rounds of pilot studies where we used Facebook to engage older adults. We performed a mixed-methods evaluation of user engagement and usability. A directed content analysis of qualitative data from the pilot studies was used to explore engagement and perceived usability, and the Mann-Whitney U test was used to examine differences in feature usage and engagement. We analyzed qualitative data from 13 participants. Qualitative data analysis yielded themes pertaining to three main domains: user engagement, usability, and usability related to aging-related changes. In terms of user engagement and usability, participants in both pilot studies reported positive feedback on felt involvement and endurability, and the second pilot group reported more positive comments regarding perceived usefulness compared with the first pilot group. There was no statistically significant difference in usage over the two studies. The findings of this study suggest opportunities to improve older adults' experience of online discussion platforms. Considering changes that improve perceived aesthetic appeal and focused attention will be helpful.