Representing older people: towards meaningful images of the user in design scenarios

BLYTHE, M. and DEARDEN, Andy (2009). Representing older people: towards meaningful images of the user in design scenarios. Universal access in the information society, 8 (1), 21-32.


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Designing for older people requires the consideration of a range of difficult and sometimes highly personal design problems. Issues such as fear, loneliness, dependency, and physical decline may be difficult to observe or discuss in interviews. Pastiche scenarios and pastiche personae are techniques that employ characters to create a space for the discussion of new technological developments and as a means to explore user experience. This paper argues that the use of such characters can help to overcome restrictive notions of older people by disrupting designers' prior assumptions.

In this paper, we reflect on our experiences using pastiche techniques in two separate technology design projects that sought to address the needs of older people. In the first case pastiche scenarios were developed by the designers of the system and used as discussion documents with users. In the second case, pastiche personae were used by groups of users themselves to generate scenarios which were scribed for later use by the design team. We explore how the use of fictional characters and settings can generate new ideas and undermine rhetorical devices within scenarios that attempt to fit characters to the technology, rather than vice versa.

To assist in future development of pastiche techniques in designing for older people, we provide an array of fictional older characters drawn from literary and popular culture.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © Springer. Part of Springer Science+Business Media
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Communication and Computing Research Centre
Departments - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Faculty of Science, Technology and Arts > Department of Computing
Identification Number:
Page Range: 21-32
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2008
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 04:36

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