Designing for Capabilities: A Phenomenological Approach to the Design of Enabling Technologies for Older Adults
AbstractTechnology is playing an increasingly important role in society's response to the emerging need of caretaking of the oldest citizens. This dissertation presents a design approach that focuses on capabilities rather than disabilities as the foundation for the design of enabling technologies for older adults. To answer the overarching research question of how we can design for capabilities, this dissertation addresses three research questions that concerns construction of a theoretical design framework, the operationalization of the framework by informing a tailored methodology, and reflection of design outcomes to generate knowledge that can inform back to theory. Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of the lived body has been used to construct a design framework with theoretical concepts, design considerations, and design opportunities that frame an understanding of capabilities as the basis for design. This framework has informed the adaptation of a phenomenological Participatory Design (PD) methodology which has then been continuously adjusted to support the practical limitations of engaging older adults in co-design activities. The methodology has guided the facilitation of 14 different research explorations involving 542 participants over four years. The design outcomes from these research explorations have been used as analytic tools to generate knowledge through reflection that has contributed to the revision of the theoretically informed design framework. The design outcomes have also been used to reflect on the phenomenological PD process. This dissertation answers the overarching research questions by making three contributions: a phenomenological design framework that emphasizes designing for capabilities revised by knowledge generated through design; a tailored phenomenological PD process with supportive analyses of preconditions, participation, and decision-making; and presentation of two sets of design artifacts and the knowledge they have generated. The design approach suggested has been followed from conception of theory to long-term use of design outcomes in realistic settings to fully utilize the reciprocal interplay between theory and design. Results from the testing of use after design in real environments suggest that this design approach can open up new opportunities to design long-lasting relationships between people and the digital artifacts they use in their everyday life by designing for capabilities rather than disabilities.
List of papers
|Paper I: Joshi, S. G. (2014) Emerging ethical considerations from the perspectives of the elderly Ninth International Conference on Culture, Technology, and Communication 2014 The paper is available in DUO: http://hdl.handle.net/10852/58734|
|Paper II: Joshi, S.G. (2015) Designing for Experienced Simplicity. Why Analytic and Imagined Simplicity Fail in Design of Assistive Technology International Journal on Advances in Intelligent Systems, 8(3-4), 2015 The paper is available in DUO: http://hdl.handle.net/10852/58735|
|Paper III: Joshi, S. G. and Bratteteig, T. (2016) Design for Prolonged Mastery. On Involving Old People in Participatory Design Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems, 28(1), 2016 The paper is available in DUO: http://hdl.handle.net/10852/58738|
|Paper IV: Joshi, S.G. (2016) Designing for Capacities Rather Than Disabilities International Journal on Advances in Intelligent Systems, 9(3-4), 2016 The paper is available in DUO: http://hdl.handle.net/10852/58737|
|Paper V: Joshi, S.G (2017) Using Embodied Experiences to Redesign Enabling Technologies Submitted to the Journal of Enabling Technologies, 2017. Manuscript. To be published. The paper is not available in DUO awaiting publishing.|