Seminar 3

Translational practices and the operationality of universal design, February 21st 2014.

Prayers and photos: designing for older people
William Gaver, Goldsmiths University of London, UK


In this talk, I describe the Prayer Companion and Photostroller, two systems our studio has recently produced for older people. These emerged through a design-led engagement involving ethnographic observations, studies based on our Cultural Probes approach, the development of design workbooks, and the production of highly-finished prototypes used in field trials lasting years. Based on our experiences, I suggest that we need not be overprotective towards older people, that successful designs may be based on providing resources rather than delivering experiences, and that when thinking about ‘older people’ the stress should be on ‘people’ rather than ‘older’.

Designing for the future: directions for health and technology
Guy Dewsbury, gdewsbury consultancy, UK


As we enter the age of increasing digitisation, the use of technology is being deployed to supplement health and social care. The use of telecare, telehealth and other forms of assistive technology are being assigned to people instead of providing people. This paper will unpack the issues of technology designed to support older and disabled people in the health and social care context. It will consider the various technologies and possible future technologies as well as discuss the issues they present to the designer and to the people who use them. It will also reflect on the possible alternative to these technologies.

Public image: private style
Michael Shamash, Independent Researcher, UK


The aim of the paper is to look at how so much design for disabled people creates a medicalised conception of the person. There is precious little being done to create design that enhances society’s perception of the disabled person. This in turn ensures that this lack of engagement creates a lack of awareness. I want to show that despite a lot of well meaning rhetoric there is so much that needs to be done to create products for all. Perhaps the greatest irony is that while innovation is being sacrificed for short term gain, perhaps the biggest gains would be made by designers and manufacturers for truly inclusive products of all types. I want to show how this could lead to a genuine co-production of products and places that promote disabled people into more than simply recipients of services but as autonomous people shaping a more accommodating world.

Applying principles of embodiment to the co-design of music technologies to support gait rehabilitation after a stroke
Simon Holland, The Open University, UK

Work in embodied cognition has led to innovative physical interaction designs, which can offer people with no special musical skills meaningful, in depth engagement with music. Two designs will be discussed that have promising applications in the context of gait rehabilitation and prioperception training respectively.

Universal Design, Universalism and e-Learning in the University
Sarah Lewthwaite, King’s College London, UK


This paper critically considers how the principles of Universal Design and Universalism are applied in the digital landscape of the university. In particular, the application of Universal Web Standards to online learning environments is considered to illustrate how technical, economic, political and socio-cultural constraints can result in apparently universal principles activating hierarchies of impairment that favour some user groups to the exclusion of others.

Designing inclusive experiences
Jamie Brooker, We Are Human, UK


Technology allows us to design more inclusive experiences. It allows us to connect people both virtually, and in the physical space. It allows us to “disrupt” the norm and open up products and services to a wider range of locations, personalities, cultures, finances and abilities, etc. It allows us to personalise and tailor to individuals, meeting their own specific needs. In the paper I will draw on my background of designing inclusive experiences for a range of innovative established companies and startups through ‘We Are Human’, as well as specific examples from my EdTech startup, Kahoot! What can we learn from the user experience, service design, architecture and startup communities when it comes to designing in a people centered way? How will interfaces evolve in the future to increase inclusivity, and provide a more seamless experience within our everyday lives?

Design process reflections on the practicality of Universal Design Interface design in practice
Mette Larsen, Human Interface Design, Germany

In the business of designing interfaces for multiple clients from different industry branches we commonly face the challenge to place user involvement in the design process. We take Universal Design both as an outcome and approach to processes raises a range of questions in relation to how this may support or hinder our project work, How pragmatic is UD?