Reciprocal Design

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HCI and Design in the Context of Dementia, 2020, pp. 17-32
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Design and technology can support people as they transition into old age by finding ways to support their clinical, medical and psychosocial health and well-being. But to make a contribution designers and developers need, not only to understand how ageing and dementia impact on populations at a societal level, but also the impact on communities, stakeholders and individuals. Co-creation and participatory approaches are increasingly being used to engage directly with potential users and gain their input into design and development processes. However, how do we engage with those whose needs may be greatest, but are unable to articulate their wants and needs through the usual channels such as talking, writing or signing? Furthermore, what are the ethical imperatives for designers and developers when working with participants who may not be able to, for example anticipate or imagine the end product or outcomes of the design process they are engaged in? This chapter focuses on a reciprocal approach to design and development. It aims to ensure the participatory design process, that enables designers and developers to benefit by gaining knowledge that will inform their designs, from the lived experience of participants, is reciprocated. This means ensuring that the participants also benefit from the process and experience. The chapter shows the importance of designers and developers reaching beyond only understanding participant’s needs, towards developing empathy and recognising their context.
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