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SXSW2013: Design for Aging, Your Future-Self
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SXSW2013: Design for Aging, Your Future-Self

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The stereotypical product image for seniors entails bigger buttons, bigger text, and bigger screens. When it comes to designing for the elderly, it is not necessary to dumb down technologies. In this …

The stereotypical product image for seniors entails bigger buttons, bigger text, and bigger screens. When it comes to designing for the elderly, it is not necessary to dumb down technologies. In this talk, I'm taking a different perspective on aging: Rather than focusing on their disabilities such as loss of vision/hearing/memory, let's look into the rich dimensions of their lives, their surrounding communities, and discuss how design can contribute in this domain.

Let's move beyond usability, and introduce “Design for Aging” as a process of innovation. This presentation includes approach on design research, and my thoughts behind the emerging trends on aging. I've also included some discovery on the aging populations' inspirations, aspirations, values and challenges to their daily lives.

This talk plans to introduce you to "Inclusive Design", inspire you to take on different lenses, and offer plenty of design opportunities in the domain of aging.


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  • 1. DesignforagingCarina NgaiProduct Design LeadInflection, LLCRedwood City, CA@caweena #aging15March 11h, 2013
  • 2. About me:Product Design Lead / InflectionDesign Futurist / SamsungExperience Designer / Adobe
  • 3. The aging population in the US islarge, growing, with a lot ofinfluence socially and economically.People are now living longer;nearly 80% of the population nowlives past the age of 65.
  • 4. How society sees them
  • 5. Who they really are
  • 6. Who they really are
  • 7. Who they really are
  • 8. Who they really are
  • 9. One-third of all surgeonsare over the age of 55American College of Surgeons 2010Who they really are
  • 10. Aging is not tobe generalized
  • 11. Current landscape forthe senior products
  • 12. 1. Safe SurveillanceAging in place / Assisted livingSmart sensors GE-Intel QuietCare® SonambaSilverPlusBAM Labs Smart Bed
  • 13. 2. Memory AidsGlow Caps MedCenter Pill reminder Chumby
  • 14. 3. S.O.S
  • 15. 4. Oversimplified Tech.PDA/Tablet Concept Babysits Old People[Concepts]
  • 16. 5. Assistive tech.
  • 17. Color palette for seniors?
  • 18. Grandmother84 years old
  • 19. Grandmother84 years oldWalking cane
  • 20. Grandmother84 years oldWalking cane
  • 21. Grandmother84 years oldWalking caneTrekking poles
  • 22. “I am not Old”ms. Green, 64
  • 23. Design for ourfuture-selves
  • 24. DesignexerciseDesign for your future-selfExamine our perception in futureaspirations, desires & technology.Outcome:1. There are not much changes thatwe perceive in ourselves in the fu-ture.2. People generally have a positiveoutlook in their lives.3. Future desired items are amanifestation of how we view thecurrent world.- Draw a picture of yourself now on the left and when you’re 65 on the right.- List 20 items of desire of needs when you’re 65
  • 25. No/LittleDeclineModerateDeclineDeclineEMOTIONSEMANTIC SELECTIVEEPISODIC DIVIDEDPROCEDURALVISIONAUDIOTOUCHPROSPECTIVESHORT-TERMMEMORYMOVEMENTCONTROLLONG-TERM MEMORYPERCEPTION COGNITION ACTIONATTENTIONCapabilities Changes
  • 26. TOP 5 Insight inDesign for Aging
  • 27. Insight #1Look at the peripherals
  • 28. EmotionalWell-beingPhysicalwell-beingPersonalcommunityProfessionalcommunityReligiousgroupDoctorsNursesSpouseCareGivierPostmanGardenerFriendsCommunityCenterInterestGroupOther familymembersGrandchildrensSalonStylistsSpecialistsNeighborsSupport systemfor seniors
  • 29. Insight #2Rise of Sandwich Generations
  • 30. Open-Faced Sandwich
  • 31. Open-Faced SandwichSandwich
  • 32. Open-Faced SandwichSandwichClub Sandwich
  • 33. Open-Faced SandwichSandwichClub SandwichMulti-generationalFamilies
  • 34. Adoption of Technology isdriven significantly by access
  • 35. Insight #3Aging in place is morethan accessibility
  • 36. aka. Independent LivingSmart Homessensors, architecture, layouthome safety, accessibility
  • 37. =
  • 38. =Lifetime of cherished objectsMemoriesDaily rituals
  • 39. = Identity
  • 40. senorsramp
  • 41. Design for thespaces in between
  • 42. Design for thespaces in between
  • 43. Design for thespaces in between
  • 44. Design for thespaces in between
  • 45. Design for thespaces in between
  • 46. COMMUNITY
  • 47. Insight #4Interdependence,not just independence
  • 48. COMMUNITYSocialize, entertain, friends
  • 49. Croquet club in Tokyo, Japan A weekend meet up with friends, PortugalSocial Interactions
  • 50. Insight #5Wellness ≠ Health
  • 51. Wellness is a state of completephysical, mental, and socialwell-being, and not merelythe absence of disease.More thanmHealth, monitoring, tracking...
  • 52. Dimensions of Wellnessphysical, spiritual, emotional,environmental, occupational,social, intellectual
  • 53. 1. companionship2. establishing a routine3. exercise4. less stress5. getting out6. making new friends7. expose to new interest8. security9. feel needed10. sense of purposeTop TenWellnessGoalsfor Seniors
  • 54. Can we translate this into....Architecture?
  • 55. Can we translate this into....Healthcare ?
  • 56. Can we translate this into....MobileTechnology?
  • 57. Mobile Phone
  • 58. Bigger ButtonsBigger Screens
  • 59. Bigger ButtonsBigger ScreensEmotionalSocial
  • 60. Aging is not a disability.
  • 61. It’s a part of normal life cycle thatwe will all experience.
  • 62. See beyond the cliché...
  • 63. to design for PEOPLE,not users...
  • 64. to build a future that you wouldlike to be in as well.
  • 65. Special thanks to: Inspired by:Dhana DhanasarnsombatSamsung UXCAUSASean DonahueResearch Centered Design,USA
  • 66. THANK YOU. Carina Ngai@caweena #aging15