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
29 January 2016
[Report] Consumers more frustrated by smart home apps than devices
New report by Argus Insights suggests disappointing apps break user experience, may cause decline in consumer delight over time. The Smart Home ecosystem comprises both hardware devices and software apps and together they are supposed to …
28 January 2016
The Power of Privacy – documentary film
In this half-hour film (commissioned by The Guardian and Silent Circle), Aleks Krotoski travels the world to undergo challenges that explore our digital life in the 21st century. Watch her be stalked and hacked, fight to …
27 January 2016
Human-machine interactions and the coming age of autonomy
Melissa Cefkin is a Principal Scientist & Design Anthropologist at Nissan Research in Silicon Valley where she explores the potential of having autonomous vehicles as interactive agents in the world. In an article that was published …
27 January 2016
Remaking Ford into a user experience-driven company
Ford CEO Mark Fields recently declared that Ford would be remade as a user-experience driven company: "We have obviously a lot experience in the car business, over 113 years, and our differentiation is going to be …
26 January 2016
The computational anthropologist
When people think of quantitative analytics, big data, and statistics, they rarely picture an anthropologist. The truth is that although anthropology is well known for gathering qualitative data, anthropologists are trained to understand all kinds …
26 January 2016
Designing for Crisis, Design for Real Life
It’s easy to design for the idealized user, someone who’s smart, calm, and informed. It’s less easy, and thus more important, to design for a more realistic user: still smart, but harried and uncertain. The …
24 January 2016
The grand illusion of empowerment
Financial times journalist/anthropologist Gillian Tett deconstructs the idea that the internet hands power to the people. In fact, she writes, in most countries power remains firmly in the hands of the elite. The bitter — and …
22 January 2016
Creating age-friendly cities
In a new report the McGraw Hill Financial Global Institute (MHFI) argues that we need a new thinking about how to create "age-friendly cities." Adapting to the challenges of an aging urban population, they write, requires …

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.

18 January 2016
Experientia website completely reshaped

Experientia is pleased to announce that we’ve started 2016 with a brand new website. Experientia’s now officially 10 years old, and we decided that the best way to celebrate is by building a new website that showcases our growth – with new projects, new people in the staff, and two new locations in Lausanne and […]

1 January 2016
For when things get personal…
13 October 2015
Experientia report: Design for ageing gracefully

Design for Ageing Gracefully Rethinking Health and Wellness for the Elderly: Public Services Asian Insights & Design Innovation, DesignSingapore Council October 2015

29 September 2015
[Experientia book] Ethnography on elderly health and wellness

As we age, we increasingly depend on public services and the community for support. Well-designed public services can greatly affect the lives of the elderly and their experiences of healthcare. Experientia collaborated with DesignSingapore Council on understanding how the elderly interact with public services and how we can look towards improving their lives with design. […]

2 July 2015
Getting citizens involved in protecting fragile energy environments

A new project funded under the FP7 European Commission framework is getting citizens involved in testing new tools for reducing energy consumption during peak loads, in the hope that its pilot program will set the new state of the art for protecting locations with fragile electricity supplies. One of France’s most fragile regions The Provence-Alpes-Côte […]

5 May 2015
Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록 in Design 4 Disaster

Design 4 Disaster features an engaging illustrated safety manual for ship passengers, a personal project by Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록. After the Korean ferry accident last year, Yuluck (who is Korean) wanted to find a way to make safety manuals more interesting to read. He spent one year designing an interactive safety guide […]

See all articles