Designing a Browser Extension for Reliable Online Health Information Retrieval Among Older Adults Using Design Thinking
The pervasiveness of online mis/disinformation escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic. To address the proliferation of online mis/disinformation, it is critical to build reliability into the tools older adults use to seek health information. On average, older adult populations demonstrate disproportionate susceptibility to false messages spread under the guise of accuracy and were the most engaged with false information about COVID-19 across online platforms when compared to other age-groups. In a design-thinking challenge posed by AARP to graduate students in a Digital Health course at Tufts University School of Medicine, students leveraged existing solutions to design a web browser extension that is responsive to both passive and active health information-seeking methods utilized by older adults in the United States. This paper details the design-thinking process employed, insights gained from primary research, an overview of the prototyped solution, and insights relating to the design of effective health information-seeking platforms for older adults.