Posted: Thu, 22/12/2016 - 17:16

At the end of October we sent out an email request to SiDE Pool members with email addresses.

We asked them to complete a survey regarding their motivations for taking part in research...


Posted: Mon, 05/09/2016 - 15:23

Our new project  BESiDE (Built Environment for Social Inclusion through the Digital Economy) has been in the news.

The various press releases below report on our successful award of £1.3 million!

Various new recruits are taking up their post on October 1st.

You can read the press releases below by clicking on the links:

The Courier:

The Research Council Funding Bid:  

The School of Computing:

Dundee University Press:

UrbanRealm - Architecture online journal:


Posted: Thu, 08/01/2015 - 10:14

Loneliness and isolation have been identified as being significant factors influencing the health and wellbeing of people of all ages. It is of particular significance for older adults as their circle of family and friends diminishes over a longer period of time.

Chris Norval’s PhD aimed to improve social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter to fit the needs of older adults. While there are associated benefits with using such a website (for example, decreased loneliness and increased social interaction) the design and features of many of these sites are poorly suited for older adults. Chris stated that from the very start, working with members of the User Pool helped his research:

People from the SiDE User Pool worked together in a series of focus groups contributing their knowledge and experience and identifying potential improvements. Using their observations I was able to create a version of a mainstream social networking site to test with other participants from the User Pool.

There were identifiable and clear improvements to the newer version based on feedback from the SiDE User Pool members who participated in this study. The findings from this work were presented to leading academics and industry experts in Toronto at an international annual conferencethis year (2014). We hope that these suggestions are adopted and that it leads to an improved experience for a greater number of people in the future.

Posted: Wed, 07/01/2015 - 16:41

Is AGE significant in the ability to search for online information ?

Over 60 user pool members worked in three studies with Mike Crabb, contributing 150 hours of participant time. He wanted to see if age is a measure of successful online searching or if other factors such as cognitive and experience based factors are as important and can provide greater insights.

Participants were asked to use the web to complete a series of information retrieval tasks he created for the experiment. A group of older adults (aged 65 +) and younger adults (aged 18+) underwent the same tests in a lab-based setting.

He found that younger people were faster but older people were as successful, if slower. Is speed a virtue?  Probably not, while older adults draw on their lifetime of knowledge and experience, young adults draw on their knowledge of the technology.  

Due to the contribution of so many of you Mike was able to finish his PhD and successfully publish his results in the professional literature. 

Posted: Wed, 07/01/2015 - 16:11

Much of the research tended to be concerned with finding out what people found difficult with new techologies so that our researchers might understand how to make things more accessible. However one of our projects was interested to discover which technologies people in the User Pool enjoyed. Marianne interviewed a number of people about the technologies that had improved their lives and any they had discovered to be particularly useful for them. She video recorded interviews with people and then pulled out key comments to create a website of older adults talking about their favourite technologies at   

Posted: Tue, 12/08/2014 - 17:17

A call for more people to help Rolando Medellin out with his research. 

If you are a regular radio user you may have noticed that more programmes are keen to have listeners take part by phoning (or emailing or tweeting) their opinions into the radio programme.

It appears that younger adults are happy to take part but those of us aged over 60 are not quite so keen. The BBC wants to find out how to encourage more of the older population to take part in these programmes. Rolando is looking for volunteers.

Contact him on 01382 386584 or email him at 

Posted: Mon, 14/04/2014 - 10:01

The Moral Maze is a BBC Radio 4 programme in which controversial topics of the day are debated and discussed with the public able to get involved,  often through phoning in. However in recent years people are more likely to contribute using online message boards, which may act as a deterrent to older adults participating. There must be a whole population of people who might contribute if this was made easier.

More work has been happening around this project with the BBC

Rolando Medellin is researching what tools can we create to help older users less experienced in using online materials to get more engaged in the debates.

Addressing the barriers to inclusion in these debates was the topic of a focus group Rolando Medellin conducted in March. He is currently very interested in what topics make you want to interact with the news.

What makes you shout at the TV or the radio? Would you write a letter or phone up to join in a debate?

What sort of topic would you be willing to participate in? The recent activities in the Ukraine? Social Problems? Sports? Travel?

Get in touch if you are interested in feeding into this research.

Posted: Mon, 23/09/2013 - 09:42

With the growth in the UK population of older adults, the increase in dementia related conditions and the increase in extended families living further away; the demand for care homes is projected to rise from 345,000 in 2005 to 825,000 in 2041. No one wants to live in a care home and the need to place our relatives in a care home is emotionally fraught but often the only option left to us. So making care homes more flexible, engaging and personalised is in all of our interests.

In BESiDE we have a panel of experts from architecture; design; ageing and health; computing and accessibility research and industry backgrounds working together. We are using interviews and observations combined with technological applications to better understand how the design of care homes impacts on the wellbeing, physical activity and happiness of residents. We aim to provide evidence-based research to encourage a more innovative design of care homes and improve mobility activities and social connectivity for people living in care homes.

So far, we have interviewed a range of architects and designers as well as visitors to care homes. We have talked to experts in Dundee, visited local authority care homes and the Dementia Centre at Stirling University.  We are continuing to learn from previous research into best practice and are currently analysing the common themes and issues arising from our interviews. We are very excited about this research and are motivated by the opportunity this presents to have some real world impact.

Posted: Thu, 28/03/2013 - 17:14


Have you ever shouted back at the radio or TV?

Lots of us get frustrated at the biased, simplistic or just plain wrong views expressed in the media, and it often touches a nerve.

Most of us watch TV and / or listen to the radio so it can be a very inclusive method of communicating with a wide range of people. The BBC wishes to increase the participation of older adults in online debates. One of the challenges is to encourage the use of technology in the process.

Grumpy Old Debate is a collaborative project including Dundee researchers and the BBC. It will be examining the current barriers to older adults using online tools for taking part in debates through the BBC. Researchers will design various software tools designed to make engagement in a debate much easier. The example they are working with is the BBC Radio 4 programme, The Moral Maze.

Although there is interest in developing technologies which older adults find more useful and easier to use, the other incentive is to widen out the debate and to make sure that all generations are included in what is considered to be ‘popular opinion’.

Researchers will be interested in talking to anyone who has listened to The Moral Maze.

There is also interest in why our generations do not use the various technologies (message boards; twitter; email; texts) available to join in these debates.

If you are interested in taking part, contact Rolando Medellin:

Tel: 01382 386584 or send a message using the response form on this website 

Posted: Fri, 22/02/2013 - 12:13


We are looking for people to complete a short survey online. 

This survey will take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete. 

It will involve reading about different applications available on mobile phones to support your health and you will be asked to rate how appealing or not you would find that type of application.

We have emailed all members of the User Pool who have an email address. 

The survey can also be found here:

The aim is to use the data collected to inform the current research on what health applications available on a mobile phone are appealing to those over the age of 65 years old.  

The Survey finishes on the 3rd April 2013.

There will be a prize draw at the end of this study of FIVE £20 Marks & Spencer or Amazon vouchers.

Contact Lorna if you have problems accessing the questionnaire:

Phone: 01382 385050 or email:  

Posted: Thu, 07/02/2013 - 14:16


As part of his PhD work, Chris Norval is currently conducting a study which aims to establish recommendations for web developers on how to make social websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, more inclusive of older adults.

The hypothesis is that making slight changes to the layout and behaviour of a site can bring it more in line with the opinions and preferences of a wider range of people.

The study compares two versions of the same system and participants are asked which system they prefer completing specific tasks in. The participants will then be asked to give their opinions on a series of statements in a questionnaire, about how the site should look and behave.

It is hoped that by conducting this research, web developers who are planning on building new or updating existing social networking sites, as well as researchers who are looking at internet-based support and care solutions, will be able to use these recommendations to improve sites for a greater range of people.