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Empathy, Participatory Design and People with Dementia

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Cassim Ladha, Dr Karim Ladha, Dr Katie Brittain, Professor Patrick OlivierORCiD


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We describe the development, application and evaluation of a design method tailored for working with people with mild to moderate dementia. Our experiences with the approach highlighted areas where designers and participants held radically different views. The tenet of our approach was that to overcome these differences we needed to create an empathic relationship between participants and designers. To achieve this we modified participatory design techniques to foster respectful engagement with participants in the development of a digital aid to facilitate „safe walking‟. The process begins with broad qualitative scoping and design work then moves to developing personally tailored, individual designs to further exploration of the experiential elements of the domain while reducing the need for the participants to engage in abstract thought. Reflection highlights a number of important areas that demand consideration when undertaking research in this area and, more generally, when performing design work with people with dementia.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lindsay S, Jackson D, Ladha C, Ladha K, Brittain K, Olivier P

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: CHI 2012: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

Year of Conference: 2012

Pages: 521-530

Publisher: ACM Press


DOI: 10.1145/2207676.2207749

Notes: Won best paper award of CHI 2012, top 1% of papers

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781450310154