Participatory design: how to engage older adults in participatory design activities

Lilit Hakobyan, Jo Lumsden, Dympna O'Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ongoing advances in mobile technologies have the potential to improve independence and quality of life of older adults by supporting the delivery of personalised and ubiquitous healthcare solutions. The authors are actively engaged in participatory, user-focused research to create a mobile assistive healthcare-related intervention for persons with age-related macular degeneration (AMD): the authors report here on our participatory research in which participatory design (PD) has been positively adopted and adapted for the design of our mobile assistive technology. The authors discuss their work as a case study in order to outline the practicalities and highlight the benefits of participatory research for the design of technology for (and importantly with) older adults. The authors argue it is largely impossible to achieve informed and effective design and development of healthcare-related technologies without employing participatory approaches, and outline recommendations for engaging in participatory design with older adults (with impairments) based on practical experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-92
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Mobile Human Computer Interaction
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

The International Journal of Mobile Human Computer Interaction (IJMHCI) (ISSN 1942-390X; eISSN 1942-3918), Copyright © 2015 IGI Global. All rights, including translation into other languages reserved by the publisher. No part of this journal may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher, except for noncommercial, educational use including classroom teaching purposes. Product or company names used in this journal are for identifi cation purposes only. Inclusion of the names of the products or companies does not indicate a claim of ownership by IGI Global of the trademark or registered trademark. The views expressed in this journal are those of the authors but not necessarily of IGI Global.


  • design approaches
  • inclusive design
  • mobile technology
  • older adults
  • participatory design


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