September 2020

Designing for the elderly

Each and every one of us is getting older, yet unfortunately our western society still taboos the topic of aging and death. We tend to avoid the subject and not deal with it, which can lead to a negative stigmatization of the group of the elderly.

Old people live in the past …. sit constantly at the doctor …. are bad drivers … always expect younger people to be considerate of their age … dislike change … have many diseases … 


Of course not. We are all individuals which means we age just as individually.

So developing a product designed for elderly people requires a lot of consideration. As designers, we need to take a holistic view of the human being we design for.

Seeing the old person primarily as a "person with limitations" and adapt the functionalities of a product to his or her presumed needs would be as big a mistake as pretending that aging is not actually accompanied by physical limitations.

It is a balancing act that we can only master when trying our best to learn from the bottom up who we design for and what is is that we can do to offer a real added value to the user.

by Katja Brandenbusch
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