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Embracing ambiguity in the design of non-stigmatizing digital technology for social interaction among senior citizens
Responsible organisation
2007 (English)In: Behavior and Information Technology, ISSN 0144-929X, E-ISSN 1362-3001, Vol. 26, no 4, 297-307 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this paper we report our early experience with the design of technology for senior citizens. We take as our point of departure a pre-study of the ways in which older adult living occurs at three different senior housing facilities in southern Sweden. We contribute to the current debate concerning the ways in which digital technology can be designed to enable new types of living arrangements for the ever growing population of older people. We focus on technology designed to support the social rather than physical challenges of growing older. In particular we discuss how designing for social interaction can circumvent the stigma associated with being lonely in light of diminishing social networks, changed patterns of interactions with family, moving to a new neighbourhood, and the loss of a spouse. We will suggest that designers, in the design of digital technology for social interaction, deliberately leave room for ambiguity to make it possible for people to leave their intentions of use unarticulated. Furthermore, recognizing that many everyday activities already act as enablers for social interaction, we suggest utilizing such activities as an approach for design. We will support our suggestions by introducing three perspectives: a perspective emphasizing that the population of older adults is one of resourceful individuals; a perspective on social interaction emphasizing its circumstantial nature as an inherent part of everyday activities; and a perspective on the role of digital technology emphasizing its role as merely one of many resources present for human action. Finally, we will present an example concept showing how an enhanced TV remote control may be designed to enable social interactions without inflicting too much on the original experience of watching TV and most importantly, without stigmatizing the people using the remote control as lonely individuals craving the company of others.

Abstract [sv]

Seniorer, äldre, social interaktion, tvetydighet, stigmatisering, interaktion, teknik, IPTV, TV

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis , 2007. Vol. 26, no 4, 297-307 p.
Keyword [en]
Senior citizens, social interaction, ambiguity, stigmatization, interaction
National Category
Human Aspects of ICT Computer Science Nursing
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-7225ISI: 000247953600004Local ID: diva2:834808
Available from: 2012-11-06 Created: 2007-08-16 Last updated: 2015-06-30Bibliographically approved

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