Evaluation of Problems, Processes and Structures – Overcoming the Limitations of User Centered Design

Friday, 20 July 2018: 18:15
Oral Presentation
Harald KUENEMUND, University of Vechta, Vechta, Germany
For a long time, the development of Gerontechnology has been criticized for not taking into account user needs and capabilities. As a consequence, user centered design and related strategies like transdisciplinary development have become standard procedures. However, some serious problems remain. This paper criticizes that we rarely see an evaluation of a theoretical problem as a starting point for technology development. More frequently, either user stories and personas – based on prejudices and mostly negative images of aging – or small and biased samples of potential users are the starting points for technology development and process evaluation. Both strategies are most likely resulting in products failing to match end users’ demands on the market. For example, in the first case these stereotypes may become integral aspects of the technology, in the second case we may receive biased information for product development. Based on results from quantitative and qualitative studies in Germany it is argued that we should start from both large scale sample surveys and detailed theoretical as well as reconstructive methods of problem evaluation from very early stages of technology development.