How to enhance social relationships of older adults: Design and development of a mobile application for active seniors

Hyunsuk Kim, Jin Young Kim, Jisoo Lee, Younah Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background As the aging population increases, the definition of older adults is being diversified and a new group of older adults has been specified, called 'Active Seniors'. While a range of studies have been conducted regarding this group according to their societal significance, not much research has focused on their social wellness. In order to improve their quality of life, in this study, we adopted design research to examine the needs of active seniors, and sought to provide an online platform for them to receive customized information on leisure activities through which they can form and enhance social relationships offline. Methods We conducted qualitative interviews with welfare workers to identify the overall characteristics of active seniors. Based on the insights, an online survey was carried out regarding their social relationships, leisure time, and smartphone utilization. According to the findings, we established design implications and implemented an A/B concept test with active seniors. With the final prototype, utility and usability testing was conducted to draw out necessary fixes and obtain feedback regarding the overall satisfaction. Results Based on design research, we developed a working mobile app prototype, which is specialized for active seniors who have demands for obtaining information on leisure activities and building social relationships. Through user evaluation, it was revealed that the service is convenient for older adults in terms of legibility, visibility, and touch interface. Moreover, it has been confirmed to be helpful in providing seniors with necessary leisure information and assisting them in interacting with others by building and maintaining social relationships. Conclusions Our study presented new evidence that a mobile application can meet the needs of active seniors with respect to receiving useful leisure activity information and building social relationships concurrently. Additionally, the service can exert meaningful implications in the context of society, can be used as a tool that seniors can utilize to spend their time in a more meaningful way, and may promote the awareness that older adults are still active and independent, and considered an equal group in our society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-121
Number of pages17
JournalArchives of Design Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020 May 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements This work has been conducted with the support of the "Design Engineering Postgraduate Schools (N0001436)" program, a R&D project initiated by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Korean Society of Design Science.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Architecture
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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