THE USER'S GUIDE TO VIDEO CALLING
The User's Guide to Video Calling is a handbook designed to help older adults learn how to communicate digitally through video calls. In an increasingly digital world, the progress of which has been dramatically accelerated by COVID-19, it is becoming harder for older adults to stay socially active. This guide sets out to help adults over the age of 60 feel more socially active and confident in their interactions in the digital world.
How can technology be used to help older adults who deal with social isolation?
Senior citizens are a demographic who are at high risk for social isolation. Social isolation, specifically objective social isolation has been linked to a shorter life expectancy. Objective social isolation specifically refers to when the individual has limited social interactions, as opposed to subjective isolation which is simply perceived by the individual. Since the beginning of the pandemic, social isolation has increased among everyone, but especially seniors. Being one of the most at-risk age groups, adults 60 and older are more isolated than they've ever been. On top of this, older adults are more likely to have difficulty with technology, meaning that currently they are significantly less able to communicate face-to-face than the average person.
Most older adults have no common ground when it comes to newer forms of communication technology, such as the internet, social media and video calling. Due to the fact that they grew up without these forms of communication technology, they have a much harder time understanding and remembering how to use them. In one study, a participant was quoted saying that he wished there was an instruction manual for modern technology. This lead me to decide that the best way to bridge this gap for older adults was to write an instruction manual explaining exactly how to use communication technology. I chose to use a book format so that it would be more accessible to my target age group.
The target audience is adults over the age of 60, who have a very limited frame of reference when it comes to newer forms of communication technology. This meant keeping my book large, with large text and very specific instructions. In order to further appeal to my target audience, I decided to use vintage appliance manuals as the inspiration for my layout structure.
The colour pallete is based off of a guide of the most popular colours in 1956. Some shades were made slightly darker so that they would meet accessibility standards when used in my spreads. They are organized into pairs, with one darker tone and one lighter tone for each colour. Each pair is used together only, different tones are not combined. This was done to ensure easy readability while still adhering to the theme.
Big Tickle, a retro-inspired font is used for the headings. This font came with a wide variety of type ornaments, which are used to reinforce the theme throughout the book. Atkinson Hyperlegible, a font designed to be easy to read and accessible, is used for the body text. This combination has allowed the vintage theme to be present without compromising the accessibility of the instructions.
The page structure was designed based on vintage appliance manuals, using bold colour blocks and clearly numbered steps.
This guide focuses on three of the most popular video calling services: Zoom, FaceTime and WhatsApp. I had originally planned to include more, but I ultimately decided that these three are most commonly used and therefore most important.
Instead of using screenshots taken directly from the websites and apps used, I created simple and informative drawings. These drawings are helpful because they are simplified versions of screenshots, which allow the user to see only what is necessary.