A good design is not for everybody!
Learning from codesign with seniors
By THOMAS BINDER
The workshop celebrates a project which started three years earlier when the Municipality of Copenhagen approached us with a challenge: can we design digital technologies which encourage seniors to socialize more with one another?
Seniors re-enact the playfulness of coming together in their ‘park community’
We did not suggest that the seniors we invited had a problem connecting with others. On the contrary, we issued invitations to seniors who were already part of social clubs, activity centres or housing communities. We asked them to share what made these everyday communities worthwhile. The stories we collected became the baseline for a participatory design project, where we envisioned, rehearsed and performed prototypes of new community platforms through workshops and real-life experiments.
Seniors making collages of the rhythms of a good day
Asta reaching out for friends with the prototype ‘caller’
However, to truly learn what using technology to connect entails, we have to take the scenarios out into the city and perform them ‘for real’. A community platform for playing in the park was created: seniors could meet for playful work-out sessions every second Friday in a public park in Copenhagen and stay in touch through a shared digital platform.
Seniors making up new rules for playing together
We do not call it fitness, but we are tired afterwards!
Seniors and researchers celebrating a fruitful collaboration
The municipality moved away from its idea to offer ‘one-size-fits-all’ fitness to seniors. Instead, it initiated a new programme, ‘Together in work-out’, which provides dedicated services to senior communities and is made available as a helping hand for new senior communities to form.
Do you want to hear more from this project? Have a look at their film!
The research described in this article stems from the Seniorinteraktion project funded by the Danish Enterprise and Construction Authority program for user-driven innovation.
The research was conducted by the IT University of Copenhagen and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design in collaboration with the Municipality of Copenhagen, the DaneAge Association, Falck, Fisketorvet Shopping Mall, Humankoncept, FI Danmark, HTC – smart mobility, Inuse, and AKP Design.
The text is written by Thomas Binder with contributions also from Lone Malmborg, Tomas Sokoler, Signe Yndigegn, Eva Brandt and Maria Foverskov. A book on the project, (Brandt, E., Fjerritslev Mortensen, P., Malmborg, L., Binder, T. & Sokoler, T. (eds.). (2012) SeniorInteraktion: Innovation gennem dialog. Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademis Skole for Design) is available in Danish on ResearchGate.
The names of the seniors in the text are fictional but built on actual participants.
Cristina Paca, Clara Boissenin, Nicola Hamilton, and Nick Murray (Ecsite) contributed.