30 August 2007

Insights into an ageing society

Be the first to share

Ageing society
Acknowledging the significance of aging society and the related challenges to world wide welfare, Denmark’s TrygFonden, INDEX: and CIID set out to investigate the lives of elderly people to provide a new understanding of old age as inspiration for new designs solutions.

They research broke some notions held about old people and shifted the focus of design thinking from being a facilitator of special aids and appliances to seeking opportunities in the socio-economic and macro perspective. Their findings reveal distinct trends in the area of secondary occupations, connectivity, dignity and the way time and space is perceived amongst the elderly.

Drawing from user observation methodologies, design thinking and synthesis we observed and filmed old people in their homes in UK, US, Denmark, India, Taiwan, Italy, Israel, South Africa and Columbia.

Informed Anecdotes I: Insight into an ageing society (pdf, 11.9 mb, 19 pages)
This article puts the findings in context with the person and the possible solutions that apply to individuals.

Four main drivers were found to be the putty that holds the lives of the old people we observed together:

  1. Secondary occupations: Old people find a secondary occupation to have a purpose in life, create rhyme and maintain self-esteem.
  2. Connectivity: Communication, feeling of inclusiveness and information management is equally important to old people.
  3. Dignity: Independence and self esteem change the perception of the self in old age.
  4. Perception of time & space: How the use of time and space changes in various stages of old age.

The four main drivers were surprisingly found to be independent of culture, context, ethics, income or nationality.

Five related concepts were also detected and substantiated these findings:
1. The importance of rituals
2. Denial of ageing
3. Need for sense of rhythm
4. Grocery shopping is significant
5. The paradox of wisdom

The article concludes with a few potential concept directions to illustrate the possibilities of how we can translate the insights of this research into objective design thinking.

Informed Anecdotes II: Design for an ageing society (pdf, 3.5 mb, 12 pages)
The second article deals with the macro issues of the ageing and describes how design thinking could contribute to a more age integrated society and transform a notional burden into an opportunity.

The article concludes with seven lines of thought:

  1. The granularity of old age: Most of the myths and notions about aging arise due to a lack of understanding of the variations amongst the elderly.
  2. The notion of retirement: The current structure of retirement is heavily drawn from the industrial era where workers were worn out from decades of hard labour and had a lower life expectancy.
  3. Cultural variations: Cultural and social variations in the aging process are detected in different countries.
  4. The design challenge: Design thinking when used at a strategic level could transform these key insights into affirmative action.
  5. Vision of age integration: A big aspect of caring for the elderly involves integration with the rest of society. Providing a network of care that transcends age is a powerful tool in this process.
  6. The universal approach: Adopting the principles of universal design is already a big step closer to creating a more elderly friendly design.
  7. Service opportunities: The aging society of fers new opportunities in the service economy. Many services have the unique quality of being able to plug the gaps in the social structure. Services can act as agents of support by introducing new patterns of behaviours, bridging accessibility gaps and inducing motivations.

In conclusion:
“Quality of life in old age moves beyond mere creature comforts to having a healthy, secure and meaningful life. Healthcare and housing is just one facet of their needs. Building a sense of inclusiveness and dignity should be a public initiative as much as a social responsibility.”

Be the first to share
19 April 2015
Nudging to improve public policy, health care and our relationship with technology
On Nudging In Public Policy By Alon M. August, University of Redlands (USA) April 6, 2015 This thesis examines nudging, a technique aimed at making individuals act, choose, and behave in the ways deemed rational by policy makers. …
16 April 2015
Putting technology in its place
Kentaro Toyama is a former Microsoft Research Executive and now an associate professor at the University of Michigan. Toyama calls himself “a recovering technoholic”—someone who once was “addicted to a technological way of solving problems.” …
10 April 2015
We are citizens, not mere physical masses of data for harvesting
The deal we have struck with the information society over the extent to which our lives are shaped and our privacy invaded requires urgent renegotiation, argues law professor Julie E Cohen at the annual Law …
7 April 2015
[Book] Practical Empathy
Practical Empathy: For Collaboration and Creativity in Your Work by Indi Young Rosenfeld Media, 2015 Synopsis Conventional product development focuses on the solution. Empathy is a mindset that focuses on people, helping you to understand their thinking patterns and …
7 April 2015
Bosch uses UX approach to spark enthusiasm for electric driving
Bosch, the German multinational engineering and electronics company, is applying a UX approach to help spark enthusiasm for electric driving, and to develop a "fascinating" user interface for electric vehicles. The project website consists of three …
3 April 2015
Design prototypes for Nairobi, Kenya
In 2014, Ericsson and UN-Habitat (United Nations Human Settlements Programme) entered a three-year partnership with the intention to collaborate around Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and sustainable urbanization. One of the first explorations was driven by …
3 April 2015
Opportunities for UX innovation in wearables
Until developers of wearable devices get the user experience down pat, the technology will struggle to gain adoption, writes Steve McPhilliamy on Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry (MDDI). "Understanding user behaviors, attitudes, and lifestyles is the …
2 April 2015
The future of loneliness
As we moved our lives online, the internet promised an end to isolation. But can we find real intimacy amid shifting identities and permanent surveillance? A long read by Olivia Laing explores this blurring between …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

27 November 2014
Why the world needs anthropologists – an update

Why the world needs anthropologists – Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 – The second edition of the international symposium of applied anthropologists attempts to erase the boundary between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, […]

30 October 2014
The BancoSmart ATM by Experientia for UniCredit selected for ADI Design Index

Last year Experientia designed the interface of an ATM of UniCredit, a major Italian bank. The interface is now rolled out across the bank’s ATMs in Italy, to great satisfaction of the bank and the customers alike, since interaction speed is much faster and error rates went down dramatically. Last year UniCredit and Experientia also […]

See all articles