Assessing Paper-Based Community Bulletin Boards Use, Satisfaction & Organization

Problem Context

Over the next few decades, the number of older adults is expected to grow rapidly. As communities age, people have become more interested in maintaining and improving older adult wellness. Engagement in the community has been linked to improved health, making it essential to facilitate engagement within the community.

Among many older adult communities, paper-based community bulletin boards act as a way to disseminate information among residents, including activities and opportunities for social engagement. In the community that we studied, there was a need to assess the organization and usefulness of the information on the bulletin boards, since they had not yet assessed it themselves.

Understanding how older adults use the bulletin boards

Interviewing Older Adults for Satisfaction & Use

We interviewed the facility administrator and did field observations of the boards to give us a better context of how the boards were being used from the administrative perspective. I then helped to create the interview protocol, where we interviewed 10 older adults around the community to see what they thought of the bulletin boards within the community.

These interviews were then transcribed and analyzed via an open coding process to generate a codebook. Transcripts were then iteratively coded independently, then reconciled with the team. Cross-cutting themes were identified to summarize the use and satisfaction of the bulletin boards within the community. These themes were then presented to the administration at the participating community to suggest how they could improve their use of bulletin boards.

Figuring out how to organize information on the boards

Card Sorting

Using information we gathered from the previous steps, we generated a number of cards that represent many different examples of information that could be posted on the boards. I then facilitated a card sort session, where participants organized the examples/cards into categories that made sense to them.

After all the individual participants sorted their cards, we looked at the sorted cards collectively to see if there were patterns in how the participants grouped their cards together. These patterns were used to generate new categories. These new suggested categories more closely match how the residents intuitively grasp the information.

These results were then presented to the administration at the participating community to help them understand how people organized the information, and how they could improve.

More Selected Work

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Jonathan Joe

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Department of Biomedical Informatics & Medical Education
School of Medicine
University of Washington
UW Box BIME-SLU 358047
Seattle, WA 98195