Designing Technologies with Older Adults: Ethical Tensions and Opportunities

Waycott, Jenny and Vines, John (2019) Designing Technologies with Older Adults: Ethical Tensions and Opportunities. In: Ageing and Digital Technology. Springer, pp. 173-187. ISBN 9789811336928

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In this chapter, we reflect on our experiences of designing and evaluating new technologies with older adults. We describe encounters from two projects that have prompted us to reconsider our research in two ways. First, we highlight ethical tensions: situations where we have had to adapt our research approach to account for unexpected ethical challenges that emerged in specific situations with older participants. Second, we note how collaborating with older adults brings a wealth of ethical opportunities: older participants often challenge simplistic technological solutions to complex problems and help us question and critique the values and ethics embedded in the technologies we set out to design. We argue that researchers working in this space need flexibility in the way research ethics is approved and managed, and need to be supported in recognising and responding to ethical encounters during the conduct of research. Meanwhile, researchers developing technologies for older users have an ethical imperative to engage older adults in the design and evaluation of new technologies. This, again, requires flexibility: researchers need to be able to thoughtfully respond to emergent issues in order to empower older adults to shape the direction of the research and to critique and iterate proposed designs.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Research ethics, Collaborative design, Older adults, Oldest old, Fieldwork
Subjects: W200 Design studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Design
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2019 14:58
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2019 14:30

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