What Designers Can Learn from the Literature
Lois Frankel, IDSA, Concordia University and Carleton University
Diane Bisson, University of Montreal
This paper focuses on the challenges the elderly have in relation to technology, in view of sensory decline and increasing physical and cognitive limitations. It also provides an overview of relevant academic literature on design research and the transforming physical and mental processes that affect the experience of everyday life and daily interactions for the elderly. In particular, it probes more deeply into age-related research in the social sciences, especially in the area of cultural anthropology. The paper builds on the area of design research focusing on older people. It is and has been referred to as inclusive design, universal design, transgenerational design, rehabilitation design, and user pyramid design (Benktzon, 1993; Coleman, Bendixen, & Tahkokallio, 2003; Connell et al., 1997; Keates & Clarkson, 2003; Pirkl, 1994; Vanderheiden, 2007). Each of these various themes has involved a functional approach to design to ensure a ‘good fit’ between people, and the objects, the environments and the services they engage with to complete their tasks. The paper looks into academic perspectives on sociocultural considerations that might influence the design of technology enabled interactive products.