Conference Paper

The case for including senior citizens in the playable city

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Abstract

The topic of "playable cities" has recently emerged as a variation on smart cities, focusing on ways to make urban spaces more playfully interactive and fun by incorporating digital technology. Existing work in this field has largely focused on explorative design and case studies. As of yet, there are barely any design guidelines specific to the context. In this paper, we motivate the need for urban interaction designers to consider the restrictions of senior citizens, give a broad overview over interaction design recommendations for older adults as relevant for urban spaces, examine selected published "playable city" case studies for their suitability regarding this population group, and propose some preliminary design guidelines for future work.

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... Most Smart City conceptualizations are in line with this statement or even accentuate it [1]- [4]. While the role of IT for older adults' active participation in urban life is being investigated [5], designoriented research on smart objects for urban areas has only recently begun to contribute to special requirements of older pedestrians [6]. Age-related decline of capabilities impairs safety and increases subjective environmental barriers. ...
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This paper focuses on older peoples’ needs as pedestrians by examining their perceptions of the outdoor environment in both bare-ground and snow/ice conditions. Qualitative and quantitative methods are used, including focus group interviews, participant observations, and questionnaires. The results show that older people consider accessibility/usability issues as very important and that the importance depends on such individual background variables as age, sex, occurrence of functional limitations, use of mobility devices, and dependence on walking as transport mode. In bare-ground conditions, physical barriers are more important for the oldest old (80+) and for older people with functional limitations or mobility devices. However, orderliness-related issues (e.g. cyclists in pedestrian areas, lighting, and litter/graffiti) are equally important regardless of the background variables. In snow/ice conditions, ice prevention is considered more important than snow removal. Snow removal on a detailed level (e.g. removal of heaps of snow on pavements and zebra crossings) is emphasised. In conclusion, it is important to study subgroups, not older people as one group, in the analysis of accessibility/usability of outdoor environments. Further, even though those accessibility issues emphasised in current Swedish governmental directives on accessibility are considered as important by older people themselves, especially among the oldest old and among those with functional limitations and mobility devices, the needs will not totally be fulfilled by current directives. For example, winter maintenance, problems with cyclists in pedestrian areas, and the need for benches are neglected.
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The demand for software, suitable for users with complex communication needs and other disabilities, is increasing. However, traditional HCI design methods are not always suitable for these users. To address this, the CHAMPION project is piloting adapted methods in the development of a patient hospital profile for this user group. Initial results show that users with cognitive and communication disabilities can be involved in participatory design. The challenge is now to develop meaningful evaluation methods for this group.
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Most people acknowledge that personal computers have enormously enhanced the autonomy and communication capacity of people with special needs. The key factor for accessibility to these opportunities is the adequate design of the user interface which, consequently, has a high impact on the social lives of users with disabilities. The design of universally accessible interfaces has a positive effect over the socialisation of people with disabilities. People with sensory disabilities can profit from computers as a way of personal direct and remote communication. Personal computers can also assist people with severe motor impairments to manipulate their environment and to enhance their mobility by means of, for example, smart wheelchairs. In this way they can become more socially active and productive. Accessible interfaces have become so indispensable for personal autonomy and social inclusion that in several countries special legislation protects people from ‘digital exclusion’. To apply this legislation, inexperienced HCI designers can experience difficulties. They would greatly benefit from inclusive design guidelines in order to be able to implement the ‘design for all’ philosophy. In addition, they need clear criteria to avoid negative social and ethical impact on users. This paper analyses the benefits of the use of inclusive design guidelines in order to facilitate a universal design focus so that social exclusion is avoided. In addition, the need for ethical and social guidelines in order to avoid undesirable side effects for users is discussed. Finally, some preliminary examples of socially and ethically aware guidelines are proposed.
Retrieved May 1, 2017 from https://www.playablecity.com/projects/take-a-seat
  • City Happy
  • Lab
About Hello Lamp Post
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  • Galik
Assistive Technology for Older Adults : Psychological and Socio-Emotional Design Requirements
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Aimée K. Bright and Lynne Coventry. 2013. Assistive Technology for Older Adults : Psychological and Socio-Emotional Design Requirements. In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on PErvasive Technologies Related to Assistive Environments (PETRA '13). ACM, Rhodes, Greece. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2504335
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  • Galik
PAN Studio, T. Armitage, and G. Galik. 2013. About Hello Lamp Post. Retrieved May 1, 2017 from http://www.hellolamppost.co.uk/about
United States Access Board
United States Access Board. 2002. ADA Accessibility Guidelines. Retrieved May 1, 2017 from https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-andstandards/buildings-and-sites/about-the-ada-standards/background/adaag
Ergonomics of Human System Interaction - Part 110: Dialogue principles
  • International Organization for Standardization