ZenStorming

Where Science Meets Muse

Design and Innovation for Seniors and Disabled

Posted by Plish on September 18, 2009

Where's the Innovation for the Golden Years?

Where's the Innovation for the Golden Years?

I’ve always believed that too many of the products that get touted as being great innovations with well thought out design actually are not necessarily all that great of products with regards to usability by seniors or disabled.

One of the main reasons this occurs is that, in general, Western Cultures do not promote interaction with seniors or the disabled.  These people get pushed into sub-cultures of sorts and are thus insulated from the society at large.  

Out of sight, out of mind, out of design…

It’s not just current product designs that are senior/disabled non-friendly.  Since many social challenges confront people as they age, innovation and improvements to address these challenges are required, but unfortunately are few and far between.

What would I suggest to start getting some innovative design work going in these areas?

1. There needs to be greater awareness of the needs of the aging and disabled population.  They need to be recognized, not as a subculture that is somehow separate from society, but as an essential part of society in the here and now.

2. Awareness comes from immersion.  Unfortunately, immersion can only happen in many cases by visiting places like assisted living centers, and hospitals.  In the mean time, we can start by visiting great websites like Serene Ambition – Boomers in Transition.

3. When present in those places where there doesn’t seem to be very many elderly or disabled ask: “What can be improved here so that elderly and disabled can truly be a part of this place/event?” 

4. When looking at products ask: “Could I use this device if I had arthritis? Or couldn’t walk well?  Or if my hand tremors? Or if my eyesight was failing? Or if my hearing was poor? Or if I couldn’t breathe well? etc…”

5. Be sure to visit the Center for Universal Design.  Great references there.

Finally, younger people need to get out of denial and see the spectrum of life in its entirety.  Everyone get’s older.

The good news is that designing and innovating for the aging/disabled is ultimately doing it for ourselves…

What are your thoughts on this?

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Design and Innovation for Seniors and Disabled”

  1. […] Design and Innovation for Seniors and Disabled « ZenStorming – Where Science Meets Muse… zenstorming.wordpress.com/2009/09/18/design-and-innovation-for-seniors-and-disabled – view page – cached I’ve always believed that too many of the products that get touted as being great innovations with well thought out design actually are not necessarily all that great of products with regards to usability by seniors or disabled. — From the page […]

  2. Josh said

    you must keep them coming, just found your blog, and i LOVE IT!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: