Emotion-integrated technology design
ARC Discovery Project
by Dr Sonja Pedell
Many existing technologies for the elderly fail because they do not address the emotional requirements of older people, such as the fear of using new technology. Our methodology addresses the emotional needs of technology users via a novel combination of ethnography and emotional goal modelling. We focus on developing an appealing design for older users, based on the emotions, capabilities, interests and needs that are encountered when elderly people use communication technologies in the domestic space. Although older people often have specific concerns such as mobility and health problems, their need for social connection and meaningful activities around technologies are similar to those of the general population despite being less engaged in technology use. Ultimately we argue that new technologies designed for older users should not necessarily assume or rely on users existing support networks. Rather we need to recognise, the different contexts of participants (e.g. location, familial practices, feelings of pride and independence). Novel technologies should cater for a wide range of training needs and recognise the feelings of older people around adoption of the technology and should seek to co-exist with older people’s existing systems rather than replace them.