29 November 2010

Tech & Baby Boomers: Universal Design vs. Universally Dull

imageThere are oodles of posts on this blog about universal design and technology, almost as many quoting and referencing Dr. Joseph Coughlin of MIT AgeLab.  I’m too lazy to list them all. A handful:

Universal Design As A Beginning, Not An End

Designing for Older Consumers

A Potential Boom from Baby Boomers: Universal Design & Aging in Place

Aging In Place, Universal Design Redux


Disruptive Demographics: Global Aging, Technology & Innovation

MIT AgeLab (2006)

Fast Company Names Joseph Coughlin to Top 100 List (2009)

imageDr. Coughlin’s recent guest editorial for Australia’s International Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society sums up what we’ve all been trying to say about being mindful of the pragmatic philosophies required when developing and marketing technology and universal design:

Understanding the Janus Face of Technology and Ageing: Implications for Older Consumers, Business Innovation and Society
imageThe convergence of technology and global ageing is driving new business opportunities, innovations in service delivery and the promise of a better life tomorrow for older adults and those who care for them. Despite its promise, technology has a Janus face introducing both new solutions as well as new problems…

imageSuccessful development and integration of technology as a tool to transform global ageing into global opportunity requires that individuals, families, business and governments, at all levels, address key trade-offs: functionality versus complexity; service versus stigma; universal design versus universally
dull; safety versus privacy; health versus dignity; availability versus equity; and lastly, high-tech versus high-touch.

Universal design versus universally dull…”  I’ve talked about that:

Baby Boomers & Universal Design
imageYou don’t want Baby Boomers wandering around a UD model home and feeling as if every room is a padded cell where you couldn’t hurt yourself even if you tried.

imageAnd remember this: an easy-to-grip handle on a utensil is not ‘dumbing down.

Read Joseph Coughlin’s Guest Editorial (PDF)

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