Older couple searching online together

University of Toronto, Technologies for Ageing Gracefully (TAGlab)

Information seeking has always been an essential part of people’s daily lives. This need for information remains prominent as we age. Indeed, it is projected that the aging population will double in the next two decades in certain developed countries. In the last couple of decades, online search engines such as Google have become so ubiquitous that now “Google” is almost synonymous with “search”, and has become one of the primary ways people seek information. This is also becoming increasingly true for older adults. In a survey published by the City of Toronto in 2017, not only did 70.6% respondents use the Internet at least once a day, 31% used the Internet to learn about city services for older persons (17% primarily used internet search engines such as Google while 16% used the City of Toronto website). However, research studies have shown that older adults have more difficulties searching and finding information online than their younger counterparts. This suggests that many gaps exist in current technologies and design that prevented older adults to find information online effectively. Not only so, most technologies that facilitate online search are also designed for single person use. However, as some studies point out that online search, as it turns out, is rarely a solitary activity, rather, there are many scenarios where people engage in collaborate search . It is found that older adults do frequently engage in collaborative search. While various collaborative search tools and interfaces have been designed to support co-located collaborative search, no existing study has explored technologies designed for or with inclusion of older adults and their co-located collaborative search needs. Given the research gaps described above, the objectives of this thesis project is to: - Further investigate the barriers in existing technologies that hinders co-located collaborative search for older adults, and - Explore design opportunities to improve the user experience and performance for older adults to collaborative seek information online To that end, we are conducting an interview to the couple to learn about how they search online together, the topics and information they are interested in searching, how they discuss the information they found online, etc.

Your Impact

By participating in the exploratory phase of this research study, you contribute to our understanding of how you and your spouse search online in a collaborative manner, the kind of information you seek and discuss, how these searching activities impact your daily lives, and the challenges / gaps that are present in your search. This will eventually help us design and build better technologies to enhance your online searching experiences.

Eligibility Criteria

All genders

At least 60 years old

Study Tasks

answer questions in an interview


This study has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Program at the University of Toronto



Activity and Time



Weeknights, Weekends, Weekdays

1 hour total, 1 session

This will be a remote interview via video conferencing software to learn about how you as a senior couple search online together, or discuss what you've found.


$60 CAD Amazon gift card for each couple

Study Address

This study doesn't require any in-person visits. Complete it in the comfort of your own home!

Posting date: Jul 29, 2020

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