Designing Products for Older People’s Social and Emotional Needs: A Case Study




Product Design, Older People, Domestic Products, Emotional Design, Social Design, Design Ethnography, Aging


The products that we use in our living environment greatly assist us in maintaining health and independence as we age. Much research has been conducted on the physical ergonomic needs in product design for older people, overlooking an understanding of the ‘softer’ functionality that domestic products offer. Through an ethnographic case study of older peoples' cooking and heating product needs (N=40), this paper presents 1) a theoretical framework which supports the need for designers to consider social and emotional connections when designing domestic products for older people and 2) practical implications and requirements for future designers to consider when designing these products. In this paper, I encourage designers to consider the reflective and visceral connections domestic products hold and how products can both inhibit and increase social inclusion.


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