Learning from COVID-19: Design, Age-friendly Technology, Hacking and Mental Models

White, P.J.; Marston, Hannah; Shore, Linda and Turner, Robert (2020). Learning from COVID-19: Design, Age-friendly Technology, Hacking and Mental Models. Emerald Open Research, 2(21)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.35241/emeraldopenres.13599.1)

URL: https://emeraldopenresearch.com/articles/2-21/v1


In March 2020 the United Nations published an open brief for the creative community to propose interventions to the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic. However, when faced with unprecedented wicked problems such as these, the rigour of design and creative processes can tested. COVID-19 has demonstrated how important human centred design responses are in understanding the worldviews and ecosystems of users. Ad hoc design responses or design hacks have demonstrated that they have a role to play in how we create our future individual, community and societal ecosystems.

In terms of age friendly design, this pandemic makes us envision what should be, furthermore, how we could create better products and services through technology. For our ageing communities ‘Cocooning’ and other social restriction measures have exposed technological deficiencies for the needs of older people and opens up questions of our future preparedness for a growing ageing society. Now more than ever, designers need to understand the behavioural mind-set of older people in their own ecosystem and understand existing mental models.

In this opinion piece we posit what acts of design hacking can lead us to greater understanding of users mental models and therefore better understanding of technology needs for both older and younger adults. While presenting various examples of how design hacking is conducted by citizens and participants alike, it shows that it offers designers differing perspectives, experiences and inspiration for technology

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