11th International European Academy of Design Conference, April 22-24th 2015

Co-designing appealing wearables with care home residents

Increasingly, wearable technology is being used to garner information about our health, lifestyle and general wellbeing, potentially offering valuable insight and analysis of our physical capabilities, needs and health requirements. Though designed to fit on our bodies and around our personal routines, these wearable devices are more often created to suit the lifestyle and needs of younger, more active and tech savvy users. Older users have expressed dissatisfaction with these devices, finding them to be aesthetically unappealing or ill-fitting. Furthermore, some older users find their lack of understanding of technology and its’ means to be a barrier for using wearable technologies. This paper discusses a set of co-design workshops where older adults living in care homes were invited to design their own wearables. The research contributes to BESiDE, a collaborative project from University of Dundee and Newcastle University that aims to inform the design of better, more enabling built care environments by utilising wearable location based and accelerometer technologies to gather information regarding the way people engage with spaces. The co-design process facilitated empathy and understanding of initial preferences and design requirements for wearable technologies to be used in care homes. The craft-focused design activities created value for both residents and designers, enabling new conversations and deeper insight and understanding of residents’ real-life experiences, ideas and skills.

Nevay, S & Lim, CSC, 2015, 'Co-designing appealing wearables with care home residents'. In Proceedings of 11th International European Academy of Design Conference (The Value of Design Research). (eds) L. Valentine, B. Borja de Mozota, J.Nelson, S, Merter, P. Atkinson. Uk: Sheffield Hallam University. ISBN 978-1-84387-393-8. Available at: http://ead.yasar.edu.tr [June 2016]