Solidarity Network

A user experience research & design project at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design in collaboration with EPFL+ECAL Lab.

The aim of the project was to investigate how technology could strengthen social ties for older people to help reduce loneliness and social isolation.

I began my research by attending silver surfer groups across London to observe how older people interact with technology. I went on to conduct interviews with less digitally engaged people as well as members and organisers of community groups.

I found a huge variety in older people's confidence with using phones, tablets and computers, as well as common frustrations they experienced with digital interfaces. It was also evident that many older people were not engaging with local activities because of poor communication - diminishing local newspapers, badly designed websites and infrequent postal correspondence from activity organisations.

We refined our brief and set out to make a digital directory of local activities for older people. In order to reach as large an audience as possible, we wanted to make this accessible on personal devices and in public spaces.

I conducted co-design workshops and interviews with older people to develop ideas further. Working with a visual designer and developer at the EPFL+ECAL Lab, we created lo- through to hi-fidelity prototypes of an app and website which we tested with users at every stage.


Alo, an app and website that provides older people with extensive and clearly designed information about activities happening in their community.  It has a simple and logical design and avoids features that older people find off-putting, such as technical jargon, confusing transitions and digital profiles. A proposal for a public information hub which provides simple and tangible interactions and paper print outs for older people who don't use the internet at home.

A full report of this project can be read here and a blog documenting my process through the year, here.