Mobilizing Senior Citizens in Co-Design of Mobile Technology

Mobilizing Senior Citizens in Co-Design of Mobile Technology

Lone Malmborg (IT University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark), Erik Grönvall (IT University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark), Jörn Messeter (IT University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark), Thomas Raben (Frederiksberg Municipality, Frederiksberg, Denmark) and Katharina Werner (Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/IJMHCI.2016100103
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Abstract

This paper disseminates work from the European Give&Take project, which aims at co-designing service sharing among senior citizens based on a mobile and distributed platform. With this project as a frame, the authors' paper addresses methodological considerations of participation in co-design for ageing. Based on the notions of design culture, communities of everyday practice and situated elderliness the authors present accounts from two European countries, and discuss methodological issues related to mobilizing senior citizens in co-design work as they have manifested themselves and influenced the Give&Take project. Challenges for mobilization are identified, based on an analysis of attitudes and values among design researchers and senior citizens. This analysis lead them to identify and discuss three strategies for mobilizing senior citizens in co-design of mobile technology: 1) Understanding being ‘elderly' as situated elderliness rather than closed categories; 2) Understanding how ad hoc or loosely coupled infrastructures can define a community rather than a formal, organisational structure; and 3) Understanding the nature of mobilization and motivation for participation as processes that continue, and need to be supported, also after completion of the project. These strategies have emerged in the authors' work on mobilization and service sharing, but may apply to a broader context of infrastructuring and ongoing negotiations.
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Introduction

Participatory design and co-design processes with senior citizens require rethinking of conventional methodological approaches for recruiting, mobilizing and continued motivation of senior participants. In the Give&Take project, new concepts for service sharing are explored, and a mobile app is co-designed with older adults to support service sharing in local communities. Our paper shares experiences from this project based on work in co-design laboratories in Austria and Denmark. Notions of design culture, everyday practice and situated elderliness backgrounds our accounts of recruitment from both co-design settings, and frames methodological issues related to mobilizing older adults in co-design work. We discuss our experiences from both settings and suggest methodological strategies based on our work. An important aim of the Give&Take co-design work was to explore and conceptualise a model for everyday service sharing in local communities in order to design a mobile digital platform running on smartphones and tablets. The use of these technologies impacted our recruitment and mobilization strategies.

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