Getting Connected

2021 - 2021

Illustration of smartphone with four individuals in squares, suggesting a Zoom call.

Getting Connected is a highly visual guide to help older adults in Boston gain confidence in using video conferencing software like Zoom and Cisco WebEx. The goal of the project was to reduce social isolation among older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project was initiated by local community leaders who recognized the growing concerns of older residents who felt left out as social interactions and civic engagement moved online. Collaborating with community groups and using co-design principles, the project has created comprehensive technology guides to empower older adults to participate effectively in virtual social and civic spaces.

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About the Project

Problem Space

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and we were forced to move social interactions into digital spaces, many of Boston’s most civically engaged residents were left behind. Older Bostonians and those with limited digital skills, including many non-English speakers, could no longer access civic meetings that they once attended in person. Getting Connecting emerged from this community-identified need.

Proposed Intervention

Getting Connected is a simple graphic guide meant to equip older Bostonians to connect digitally and participate civically during and post-pandemic. We used co-design principles and processes, working with older adults and community groups to develop a robust set of technology guides that enable older adults to access, actively participate, and thrive in virtual social and civic spaces.

Social Impact

This guide was quickly adopted by local non-profit organizations and used to support older adults, as well as in intergenerational programming meant to connect youth and older adults. The guide was translated into two additional languages for added accessibility. As of 2023, it has been distributed and used by well over 700 people.


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Project Contact

For inquiries about this project, please contact