The project Social DisplayÂ comprises the design of a large format screen for stationary facilities in elderly care. In this project innovative forms of communication, information and conversation are being researched and developed that support the participation of the elderly in society. The application of design methods that are oriented towards participation and that are based on qualitative-empirical research allow for a practice-based inquiry and address actual needs with the help of innovative information and communication technologies.
The project addresses the following research questions and research areas:
The development of innovative information and communication technologies which do not replace personal relations but allow for new forms of relations and the social involvement of elderly people. Design ideas are directed towards:
- The facilitation of new communication and interaction-based spaces of communication for people with a decreasing mobility and subsiding capabilities, enabling them to participate in social life.
- The endorsement of innovative forms of community building between elderly people with similar interests and hobbies at their retirement home, in the neighbourhood or in the city via Internet.
- The endorsement of intergenerational exchange by means of innovative technologies, which create new forms of closeness between relatives living far away form one another, e.g. between grandmother and grandchild.
- Better endorsement of the cultural needs of elderly people by way of innovative community technologies, which allow for shared cultural activities beyond spatial boundaries, e.g. establishment of a virtual choir via large display for lovers of music.
The design of intuitive input and output devices for people who are restricted in their ability to move freely, as well as seeing and hearing capabilities. Moreover, the often minor experience of dealing with computers and special employment scenarios for the devices is being taken into consideration. Partial aspects draw on the following questions:
- The design of innovative input and output devices, which awaken interest in people to acquire new media even at an older age and to use them as enrichment for daily life.
- The design of input and output devices, which offer a better linking between medial content and the form of technological access. As a result, user obstacles and anxieties towards new media are minimized and the User Experience is increased.
- The design of input devices, which, because of its good self-descriptiveness, meets the complexity of the content and in doing so contains only as much complexity as necessary to facilitate acquisition.
- The consideration of different skills and habits through a high fault tolerance of the input devices.
- The use of known artefacts of everyday life for the design of digital input devices.
The development of appropriate technology design methods for the design of technologies for users who have so far had little to no contact to new media:
Questions that draw on the following areas:
- How do design methods need to be adjusted so that technology development with and for elderly people provides useful results, which support self-determination and participation in old age?
- The adjustment of design methods which help to reduce the knowledge gap between technology designers and elderly people as experts of their everyday life: technology designers have knowledge over technical possibilities and available media contents, but know only little about individual needs of everyday life, worldly wisdoms and the fields of interest of elderly people.
- The development of practice-oriented categories such as lifestyles, fields of interest and the everyday needs of elderly people to account for the heterogeneity of the biggest demographic group so that technology design projects are best adjusted to individual needs.
The development project takes place in collaboration with the residents and members of staff at the retirement home Haus St. Elisabeth in Netphen, a facility of the GSS sanitary service in Siegen.