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The Influence of Ageing on Interaction and Technology

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Julie Jupp.

PhD Student at the Engineering Design Centre

Abstract: People are living longer and the world population is ageing. At the individual level, ageing leads to functional losses and causes behavioural changes. These losses and changes affect the quality of product interaction. However, in many cases design itself unnecessarily compromises product interface by failing to consider the needs of the older user and is therefore also responsible for poor interaction.

The quality of interaction reflects how successful a product may be and is critical to the uptake of technology. To date, only a few studies have addressed the use of products by older adults. There is a clear need to further investigate older user responses and relate them to product interaction. The present work focuses on this need and its implications for design practice.

Based on the literature, this work proposes four levels of response in product interaction – physical, sensory, cognitive and affective. The sequence and importance of these levels of response may vary according to users’ age and capabilities. To understand these variations users were clustered in three groups – youth, adults and elderly. It was hypothesised that for each group there is a dominant level of response – sensory for youth, cognitive for adults and affective for elderly. To test this hypothesis an empirical study is planned. This presentation will summarize the literature and describe in outline the planned empirical study.

This talk is part of the Engineering Design Centre series.

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