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Longevity Market Product Design: Putting People First

Stria Staff January 17, 2019
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Longevity market businesses are focused on smarter, more inclusive design.

GreatCall CEO David Inns believes that “developers who claim to be interested in the longevity market have lost sight of the end users’ needs, and instead focused on the technology, healthcare system, or only the needs of family caregivers.”

The Stanford Center on Longevity’s 2018-19 Design Challenge theme is taking a novel approach to intergenerational design. “Rather than studying the perceived needs of older or younger generations as an outsider, it is possible to look to people of all ages for what they know and how they can contribute,” says Ken Smith, Director of the Center’s Mobility Division. Ken shared the benefits of this approach in his essay for Stria.

We’ve curated articles on how longevity market companies can and should think about designing products for older adults.

Headlines & Insights: Curated excerpts from thought-provoking articles

Designing for Seniors, Students Use ‘Human-Centered’ Approach
USC News / by Joanna Clay

Instead of educators, designers or engineers sitting in a siloed office and assuming what a user needs, these folks go out in the field, study the user and use that information to inform an approach to an issue.

The class is part of the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab within the USC Marshall School of Business, which aims to tackle social issues and global problems with for-profit endeavors.

“This isn’t sort of market research. This is a much deeper dive into understanding communities,” said Adlai Wertman, founder of the lab. 

The Design Superstars of the Future Will Be Designing for Their Grandparents
Quartz / by Anne Quito

Product innovation firms are studying the aging market but have yet to come up with breakthrough solutions. Frog Design’s “Aging By Design” initiative aptly summarizes the state of design today: “While there are a number of home care products and services on the market that intend to preserve the dignity of the seniors, most are piecemeal solutions that fail to integrate well with other products and services—or real lifestyles—and are often too confusing and difficult to be used effectively.”

Industrial design student Andy Yu, who was crowned winner of this year’s US national James Dyson Award on Sept. 7, is ahead of the curve. A junior at the Rhode Island School of Design, Yu created a prototype cup for people with arthritis or Parkinson’s who have shaky grips and weak arms. …

“I believe that a well-considered mixed group of audiences can help guide the direction of the design,” Yu tells Quartz. “A lot of the inventions focus on medical and technological help that they need, but I want to focus on creating a comfortable product that matches their current needs for daily life.”

Baby Boomers Are Aging And Designers Need To Adapt
Fast Company / By Katharine Schwab

For decades, baby boomers have been a focus for companies and marketers thanks to their sheer size as a demographic. Now that they’re aging, the business case for continuing to cater to the generation remains just as strong. This means design that accounts for aging bodies and minds; as they get older, people face challenges like increased difficulty with multitasking, remembering new behaviors, and controlling fine-motor function. The benefits for designing to these challenges are obvious, but when you create a product that’s easier to use for people of different abilities, you often end up creating something that’s better for all users a core tenet of inclusive design.

Design Thinking Can Help Improve Care for the Elderly
Harvard Business Review / by Rebecca Weintraub and José Colucci, Jr.

How do we ensure our elderly population is taking proven medications to alleviate suffering, treat disease, and promote health? By understanding end users and their environments, which is what design thinking is all about. Studying how patients consume their medications is key to generating better health outcomes. Design matters, especially for our aging population.

(This article was originally published in June 2018.)

How to Facilitate User-Centered Design in Health IT Tools
Health IT Analytics / by Jessica Kent

User-centered design in health IT tools is a relatively new phenomenon, but one that is growing increasingly common, especially as end-users continue to gripe about convoluted workflows and inaccessible data.

Creating health IT tools that offer an intuitive, streamlined interface that encourages meaningful interaction could be the key to reducing high levels of burnout while enhancing reliance on data-driven decision making.

A process model that incorporates workflow analysis, usability testing, and continuous user support could help facilitate the development of user-centered design in health IT tools in all areas of healthcare, a recent study published in JMIR Human Factors revealed.

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