"Elderpersonas" adapting personas to understand the real needs of elderly people

DS 87-3 Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 17) Vol 3: Product, Services and Systems Design, Vancouver, Canada, 21-25.08.2017

Year: 2017
Editor: Anja Maier, Stanko Škec, Harrison Kim, Michael Kokkolaras, Josef Oehmen, Georges Fadel, Filippo Salustri, Mike Van der Loos
Author: Gonzalez de Heredia, Arantxa; Justel, Daniel; Iriarte, Ion; Lasa, Ganix
Series: ICED
Institution: Mondragon Unibertsitatea, Spain
Section: Product, Services and Systems Design
Page(s): 291-300
ISBN: 978-1-904670-91-9
ISSN: 2220-4342


The population aged 65 and above is the most diverse of the age groups. This diversity is also growing due to longer life expectancy. To provide them with the right assistive products it is crucial to understand the real needs and goals of these new groups of people. The design tools that exist to date work well when designers work with average users. Nevertheless, it is not proved that these tools are effective when working with extreme or special user groups. With this study we aim to review the existing models of “personas” and to adapt it in order to provide designers with more effective inclusive design research tools. As a result of this adaptation, we developed “elderpersonas” which includes an ethical code and a description of the aging development that are necessary to ensure the quality of the research using few resources. We preliminarily tested on the elderly population in the Basque Country by interviewing 36 people aged over 65. Based on the results, we conclude that the “elderpersonas” enabled us to better understand elderly people as well as their needs and goals. In the future the new tool will be applied on design case studies to prove its real value in practice.

Keywords: Inclusive design, Research methodologies and methods, User centred design, Elderly, Personas


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