ICT for the older generation
New digital technologies can play a key role in addressing well-recognised social and cultural needs of older people, such as loneliness, loss of identity, lack of independence and disconnection from family and friends who increasingly rely on ICT to communicate.
However, many older people have found they can’t engage successfully with ICT because of inaccessibility, complexity, infrastructure incompatibility and unfamiliarity.
With support from Nominet Trust, the University of Surrey is aiming to increase all-round understanding of the issues involved by developing a sustainable process of co-design that ensures everyone’s needs are met.
Meeting everyone’s objectives
The wide variation in inclination, enthusiasm and ability among elderly people to use and engage with new technology devices and systems are not well understood by product designers and developers. This inevitably leads to a lack of suitable devices and services that are actually used by the older generation.
Now a team from the University is bringing together groups of older people with design experts, experienced product developers and manufacturers to co-design new internet-enabled ICT devices and services that are usable, acceptable and accessible by multiple sectors of the elderly community.
By forming a sustainable process for co-design, run under expert facilitation, the project hopes to address the technical and design issues that prevent the older community from engaging successfully with ICT – developing both practical and profitable solutions that meet everyone’s needs and business objectives.