• Inclusive Design: To AgeTech or not to AgeTech?

Briscoe, Gerard and Carroll, Sidse, 2021, Conference or Workshop, Inclusive Design: To AgeTech or not to AgeTech? at International Federation on Ageing 2021, Canada, 9-12 Nov 2021.

Abstract or Description:

The United Nations has identified population ageing as a global phenomenon, with virtually every country in the world experiencing growth in the size and proportion of older persons in their populations. Specifically, the share of the population 65 plus will increase from 9% in 2019 to 16% by 2050, more than doubling from 703 million to 1.5 billion. In this context, AgeTech is expected to be a $2.7 trillion global industry by 2025, based upon having a 10% share of the growing global Longevity Economy. So, companies and investors are understandably interested in technology that would bring living longer closer to living well. While the promise of such technology is preferable, the approach of AgeTech to be exclusively designed for older people is problematic; as lacking Inclusive Design in the initial development of digital technologies cannot be remedied by further lacking Inclusive Design in subsequent specialist AgeTech. Such specialist products and services would be inherently limited, even assuming gender and ethnic inclusivity. They would likely be crisis purchases bought because of need rather than desire, lacking appeal because of potential or perceived stigma. This is because such ageism can significantly affect how ageing is understood in design, for example the notion of 'senior' can be associated with illness and/or disability. However, it can be estimated, at least for developed countries, that the majority of seniors are fully physically and mentally able. For example, in the United Kingdom, from their Office for National Statistics data, 58% of those at or above state pension age (i.e. senior) are fully physically and mentally able; and for Canada, from their Statistics Canada data, the proportion is similarly estimated to be 62%. So, designers and developers need to move beyond ageist stereotypes as ageing populations are diverse, requiring design to understand and embody their diversity. Therefore, we consider moving beyond ageist stereotypes, negative and positive, in designing preferable technology futures of living well longer. Positive stereotypes can also be harmful, for example sageism, in which the notion of 'elder' can create expectations on older people that cannot subsequently be met. Overall, adopting Inclusive Design in the development of digital technologies would ensure usefulness and appeal to adults of all ages, for inclusive rather than ageist technology.

Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies
School or Centre: Research & Innovation
Funders: Research England
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2021 17:13
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2021 17:13
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/4944
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