Designing Technology with and for Older People


The constant emphasis on users views in the design process means older people are consulted about their views, but this is often as a 'last resort'. The initial outlines and developments are sometimes considered without reference to the intended users and thus designs fail. This paper demonstrates two processes and methods deployed in the design of computer systems for assisting older people. The paper will contrast the two design methodologies and determine which elements are useful and first undertook the software development prior to gaining certain user views through the use of interviews and questionnaires, whereas the second began with the users and proceeded to consult them throughout the design via a number of methods including 'cultural probes', observation, interviews, 'technology tours'. The paper concludes that the differences between the two methods and processes resulted in marked differences in the finished systems and their uptake.

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