Disengaged aging: implications for product design

February 21, 2016, by Bart-Jan van Putten and Carolin Makus

In general, when people grow old, the number of social interactions they have decreases, which is called ‘disengagement’. Disengagement can be desired and undesired, which leads to the question whether product designers should enable or prevent it. In this article we will look at two theories on aging and discuss what they mean for the design of interactive products. (The photo of a turtle is a metaphor: the older we get, the more often we tend to ‘hide in our shells’.)

Perspectives on aging and their relevance for man-machine interaction

January 24, 2016, by Carolin Makus and Bart-Jan van Putten

A person’s chronological age, e.g. ‘50’ or ‘65’, is a weak predictor for how the person uses interactive products. If we want to design products that fit to the needs and behavior of seniors, we therefore need to look at aging in a more sophisticated way. In this article we introduce five perspectives on aging and indicate how relevant they are for man-machine interaction.

Recommendations for the development of mobile personal emergency response systems

January 10, 2016, by Bart-Jan van Putten

Mobile personal emergency response systems (mPERS) allow people (often seniors) to call for help from any location where a mobile phone network is available. However, there is no guarantee that people will wear the device and actually be able to call for help in case of an emergency. In this article we will therefore present recommendations for the design of more effective mPERS.

Tablets for seniors

August 10, 2015, by Bart-Jan van Putten

Tablets are becoming ever more popular among seniors to e.g. communicate with their families, surf the web, view photos and play games. For seniors with little computer experience, standard (Android) tablets are hard to use and may not appear to be useful. Fortunately, several companies are working on special software packages for seniors, which can be installed on top of the operating system or used from within a browser.