Photography as a Research Method in Collecting Information from Elderly Respondents in Senior Housing Design

  • David Ming-Da Lee
  • Robert C. C. Chen
  • Tsai-Ju Lee
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8009)


This study is concerned with acquiring knowledge of elderly peoples’ perceptions toward senior housing design by using “photographic technique” based on participant design theory. The researchers asked 78 participants to choose 5 important areas of their own home and to take pictures of these. This was followed by a semi-structured interview. From those meaningful dialogues during the interview process the best insight into the elderly persons’ experience is revealed and, therefore, offers an understanding of the elderly persons’ perceptions and their spatial design preferences.

The results reveal four very important issues for the elderly participants in their everyday life. First, is concerning the items connected to or from the past. The second relates to family or social life. Third, concerns their hobbies or interests. Fourth, is in regards to where they spend most of their time. Moreover, the results show that by using a “photo taking” method this could possibly make the elderly participant feel themselves as contributing more to the project. Potentially this could improve the effectiveness of data gathered from the elderly respondents.


Senior housing Design Ethnographic method User experience Photographic method 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Ming-Da Lee
    • 1
  • Robert C. C. Chen
    • 2
  • Tsai-Ju Lee
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Interior DesignHwh-Hsia Institute of TechnologyTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Faculty of Art Design and HumanitiesDe Montfort UniversityLeicesterUK

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