w w w . g e r o n t e c h j o u r n a l . n e t M a y 2 0 0 6 , V o l 5 , N o 1
In our editorial
we argued that person-centred design acts as an antidote totechnocentric visions of ageing by ap-proaching technology developmentfrom the perspective of the people whowill use it. This best practice reports ontwo projects: a user centre, and evalu-ations of person-centred technologies.
At the University of Dundee, a dedicateduser-centre for older adults has been cre-ated. The management of the centre is acollaboration between academics andolder users of the centre ensuring that arange of interests is represented andthat the centre genuinely caters for theneeds of those who use it. Weekly com-puter classes are run in which userswith more experience help those whoare beginners. Research is carried outwithin the User Centre, allowing longitud-inal evaluation of software prototypesand investigation of the strategies adop-ted by older adults learning about com-puter technologies. The centre is awell-attended facility, which attractsadults from 50 to 95 years old, primar-ily 65+, through social and educationalactivities and ensures a committed, reli-able and highly-motivated user groupfor academic research.Another innovative facility is the Wolf-son Research Theatre, dedicated to ex-ploring the use of drama as a means of working with older adults inexperiencedwith technology. Successful projectsthat have used drama to encourage dia-logue with older users include the sup-portive monitoring project
andon-going work on digital television.
Lancaster’s department of computinghas long explored the relationshipbetween technology and older people’slife styles through working with olderpeople in the North of England in a re-search study that deployed ‘culturalprobes’ to obtain glimpses into seniors’everyday lives
. The probes were com-plemented by other activities such asquestionnaires, observation, and techno-logy tours
The results of this three
Enabling and applying person-centreddesign for older adults
The User Centre at the University of Dundee