Presentation at Mobile HCI 2014: The Value of the Life course Perspective for the Design of Mobile Technology


Completed a workshop ‘Re-imagining Commonly Used Mobile Interfaces for the Elderly‘ at Mobile HCI 2014 in Toronto. View the presentation at slideshare here. The list of presenters is available online. The learning points below are from the other presenters. Keynote speaker, Jutta Trevarinus from the Inclusive Design Research Center (IRDC) spoke extensively about her work, and my insights from her talk are captured in another post.

Key learning points:

1. Be careful to set participants’ expectations during participatory design:

  • Many older adults see participatory design sessions as social opportunities and may be disappointed when a one-on-one evaluation is conducted after a group session. In fact, a key motivating factor for participation may be the opportunity to socialize.
  • Repeat instructions and define the terms being used, particularly when introducing group creative tools such as coordinated mapping or envisioning

2. Use of language and tools during participatory design sessions:

Older adults seem to be more comfortable if

  • jargon is explained, or more common language is substituted
  • prompting objects and tools are supplied (eg. ready-made interface templates)
  • sketching is scaffolded – as with other participatory designers, sketching is challenging as people don’t feel comfortable with their ‘artistic’ ability
  • when possible, supply each participant an individual copy of the paper prototype. In one instance, when working with vision-impaired older adults, having a copy of the paper prototype assisted in discussions as they felt free to move their prototype to a comfortable distance/orientation for viewing

3. Novel ideas for participatory design sessions with older adults

  • Attempt live coding the findings: Instead of the designer retreating after a session to consolidate the design insights, work with the participants, in the session, to name and group themes.
  • vary the fidelity of the prototypes presented – offer both lo and hi fidelity options to facilitate discussion

2 thoughts on “Presentation at Mobile HCI 2014: The Value of the Life course Perspective for the Design of Mobile Technology

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