Proceedings of DRS2016: Design + Research + Society - Future-Focused Thinking

Crafted with Care: Reflections from co-designing wearable technologies with care home residents

With increasing longevity and changes in population demographics; designers, engineers, and architects are faced with the challenge of providing older adults with enabling technologies and home environments that facilitate physical activity and wellbeing. To promote acceptance and adoption, making these technologies more desirable and less stigmatizing is crucial. In this paper, we outline a craft-based co-design methodology that we developed working with groups of care home residents designing wearables for research. The research asks care home residents to wear activity-monitoring devices to provide insight into the ways they currently utilise their spaces and where improvements could be made. We propose that a craft-based approach allows designers to understand and uncover people’s capabilities and needs in a non-intrusive and empathic way. Our findings show that using this approach enabled creativity, confidence, and connectedness amongst participants. We discuss our reflections and insights that have implications on the approach and future work.

Sze Chong Lim, C., Nevay, S. (2016). Crafted with Care: Reflections from co-designing wearable technologies with care home residents. in: P. Lloyd & E. Bohemia, eds., Proceedings of DRS2016: Design + Research + Society - Future-Focused Thinking, Volume 8, pp 3295-3311, DOI 10.21606/drs.2016.327

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