Co-design Workshop in Newcastle - Designers, Technologists & Users create personalised wearables

BESiDE designers and technologists visited a local care home in Newcastle to co-design wearable carriers for location logging devices. This home will be the first of our partner care homes to trial these devices in a live five-day study. Having built a relationship with this care home, and its staff and residents,  technologists will be on hand throughout the trial to augment and maintain the technology and wearables whilst being worn. This particular care home specialises in care provision for adults who have learning disabilities or complex communication needs. In support of this, the designers wore wearables of their own aesthetic style and used these in demonstration and invited staff and family members to actively participate and aid residents in communicating their thoughts and feelings throughout the session.  

During the co-design activites the team observed key interactions and gathered insights from residents, staff and visitors to improve and build upon design requirements. 

Working with five residents in total, the designers set out fabrics and customisation materials (including buttons, fabric paints and appliqué patches) and invited residents to create a wearable or build collections of base fabrics, straps, fastenings and decorative materials to reflect their taste, style and practical needs. The residents designed a range of pouches to house the technology to gather location data.

Residents visited the designers on a drop in and out basis to create their original pouches. Some residents were most drawn to practical materials; one resident who frequently visits local shopping centres with her family chose waterproof materials in a bright print that will protect the device from the weather. This resident, who has difficulty communicating verbally, expressed particular enthusiasm in response to the fabric pattern - block coloured illustrated dogs wearing jackets - by physically cheering upon choosing her favourite dog characters to feature on the front of her chosen pouch design. With the support of her carer, she told us that she looked forward to wearing her design and thought she would look 'stylish' whilst wearing it. Other residents chose fabrics that appealed to their aesthetic preferences; one resident chose a pink felted fabric to match her favourite everyday jewellery and another requested that we match their wearable’s base fabric to the shade of his wheelchair seat cover.

Residents prototyped position and placement of their wearables using ready made pouches and a range of fastenings and straps; some preferring to wear their pouches as bags across their bodies whereas others would prefer their pouch to be attached to the side of their wheelchair by their hip.

Their designs are to be finished and ready to be used by mid December.


Event Details
  • A Workshop
Location Details

United Kingdom



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