Putting faces to end-users early in the design process is changing the way designers and organisations are approaching products aimed at Singapore’s growing elderly demographic.
Experientia’s ethnographic study, which was commissioned by DesignSingapore Council in a collaboration with Singapore’s Health Ministry’s Ageing Planning Office, gleaned “insights from 24 interviewees between the ages of 55 and 85, and [used] information on how they and their caregivers interacted with public health institutions, to create eight “personas” for elderly consumers and suggested models for how they would behave.”
Mulchand then interviewed Experientia President Michele Visciola, who led the study:
The study points to problems due to the fact that most systems are designed for generic users and not specific people.
Medical institutions are science-oriented and do their best to improve the medical part of the service, but they are inconsistent in addressing typical cultural expectations… They need a more holistic approach that considers the ‘real lives’ of people and not just their symptoms. They need to be more patient-centric.
There is also a need for better social infrastructure and community-based support.
Patients are no longer just passive recipients of solutions. The ‘payers’ want to be listened to and to decide what solutions are good for them before they accept new things in the market. That’s a trend that is emerging worldwide.
The findings of the Experientia study have been incorporated in the Health Ministry’s ongoing $3 billion Action Plan For Successful Ageing.
Mulchand’s article also features the “Empathetic Technology For Ageing” ethnographic study conducted by Orcadesign Consultants.