Participatory Design with Older Adults: Exploring the Latent Needs of Young-Old and Middle-Old in Daily Living Using a Universal Design Approach

Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 954)


In 2017, global population aged 60 years or over reached nearly 963 million, becoming twice the figure recorded in 1980. Not surprisingly ageing population will continue to accelerate due to continuing decline in fertility and improvement in survival in major diseases. When people who are suffered from cognitive or physical impairment, they often feel alone and experience different degrees of social loneliness. This paper discusses co-design experiences with various stakeholders to explore latent needs of older persons in their daily living using a universal design approach. Through iterative use of creative methods, freehand sketching and physical models, older adults can express their needs in a more accurate, tactile format. Findings reveal that commonality of interest among older persons are important in building rapport among other participants. It also helps designers develop assistive design related to health care, mobility, dining and leisure activities involving older persons, benefiting society as a whole.


Participatory design Universal design Elderly Activities of daily living Rapid prototyping 



The author would like to express our gratitude to the reviewers for their valuable comments. We would also like to thank the participants and supporting staff who took part in the main study. This research work was supported by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Design and EnvironmentTechnological and Higher Education Institute of Hong KongKolwoon TongHong Kong

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