Co-design is an approach that acknowledges that the experiences of users and designer/technical experts or researchers are different. In this approach, the agency and quality of experience of potential technology users are a priority to understand their own context and culture. I will illustrate this approach with projects relating to monitoring technologies designed for older people.
Older people who live independently are envisioned as users of monitoring technologies that can sense their movements, vital signs, and activities. Monitoring technology is a response to the call to ensure older people’s safety, security, and wellbeing; however, the solution-oriented or needs-based design approach taken in design often treats older adults as passive recipients of the technology. I investigated older people’s perspectives and explored how they may reimagine these technologies in their life and future. The investigation was conducted through qualitative and design research methods anchored with a Co-design approach that actively involves potential users in the design process, to ensure the output aligns with the user’s terms and preferences.
In the proliferation of needs-based and solution-based technology design, this presentation showcases a design approach that shifts the emphasis from perceived needs, wants and solutions to bring to light lived values, agency, meanings, and aspirations – rhetoric that reverberates and amplifies the user’s voice.