Inclusive Design









Designing for older people: But who is an older person?  

Raghavendra Gudur, Alethea Blackler, Vesna Popovic, Doug Mahar

University of Canberra, Queensland University of Technology (2), Sunshine Coast University

Keywords: intuitive design; older people; cognitive ageing; inclusive design


This paper explores a critical aspect of designing for older people. It argues that we need a clear description of who is “an older person”. Or, when a person starts being old from middle age. Research has well established that there is greater variability in abilities among older than among younger people. This often creates problems in designing intuitive product interfaces for this target group. Intuitive design is basically about developing interfaces that reflect target users’ familiarity. However, when the target group are very diverse in their capabilities and familiarity it makes is extremely difficult to design intuitive interfaces. Our research suggests that the main reason for this predicament is due to excessive focus on chronological ageing. And, if we look at a target group based more on their cognitive abilities instead- it will provide us much more effective approach in dealing with this problem. 

This paper is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence.

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Cite this paper: Gudur, R., Blackler, A., Popovic, V., Mahar, D. (2016). Designing for older people: But who is an older person? Proceedings of DRS 2016, Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference. Brighton, UK, 27–30 June 2016.

This paper will be presented at DRS2016, find it in the conference programme

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