Developing Older Adult Cyber-Security Personas

Older adults are the fastest growing group of internet users, however, are all too often considered to be one homogenous group of vulnerable, elderly users with low digital literacy. This however does not represent the vast diversity of technology users present within the older adult population.

The older adult population has as much, if not more, variability than any other population group. Although some older adults struggle with low digital literacy, others are highly proficient with technology and have strong security concerns. Without acknowledging this variability, we risk stereotyping older adults: something likely to influence the ways that we tailor and communicate advice, technology and cyber-security solutions for this population group.  

This research developed a number of Personas - fictional representations of users, based on a number of recent qualitative research studies conducted by members of the research team. The personas were informed by a number of key indices identified as being important for older adult security (such as digital literacy, financial strength and security awareness).

These newly developed personas represent a more diverse population of older adult users and can be used by designers, developers and policymakers to consider a wider variety of older adult when developing solutions or guidance for older adults.  

Partners: James Nicholson

People: Lynne Coventry and Pam Briggs