Co-designing Appealing Wearables with Care Home Residents

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Acknowledgements: BESiDE (The Built Environment for Social Inclusion in the Digital Economy) project was supported by the RCUK Lifelong Health and Wellbeing Programme grant number EP/K037293/1.

This paper describes on-going work in the EPSRC funded BESiDE project which aim to inform the design of better, more enabling built care environments by utilising wearable location based and accelerometer technologies to gather information regarding the way people engage with spaces.
In this conference paper we introduce a co-design methodology used in care homes to enable its residents to co-design suitable and appropriate personal wearables. This wearables would then be embedded with location-based, and accelerometer technologies. User engagement is important for this project as the adoption of the wearable and adherence to the data collection period is critical to the understanding of how people engaged in care home spaces. In this paper we focus on how our approach contributed to the development of empathy with the older participants (12 residents from 3 care homes) we were working with. The findings and discussion were based around three themes which were: Recognizing 1) life experiences and knowledge 2) design opportunity and ideas and 3) independence and skills. Our discussion drew on how our design approach encourages empathy and by enabling empathic design, we ensured that the wearables would be designed to reflect the needs and desires of the wearers/users. In the paper, we also discussed how our approach relates to an empathic design framework developed by Kouprie and Visser (2009).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 11th International Conference of the European Academy of Design
Subtitle of host publicationThe Value of Design Research
Place of PublicationFrance
PublisherThe European Academy of Design
Number of pages12
VolumeEAD 11
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015
Event11th International Conference of the European Academy of Design : The value of design research - Paris Descartes University, Paris, France
Duration: 22 Apr 201524 Apr 2015 (Link to conference webpage)


Conference11th International Conference of the European Academy of Design
Abbreviated titleEAD 11
Internet address


  • built care environments
  • accelerometer technologies
  • wearables
  • co-design
  • craft practice


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