Seale, Jane, McCreadie, Claudine, Turner-Smith, Alan and Tinker, Anthea
Older people as partners in assistive technology research: the use of focus groups in the design process
Technology and Disability, 14, (1), .
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There is an increasing recognition that older people are capable of being critical and active consumers of assistive technologies. This has led to the proposition that older people should be involved in their design and evaluation. In this paper we will describe a focus group methodology used to help older people identify and describe the nature of the mobility-related problems that they encounter, and then put forward ideas for their resolution, which might usefully be addressed by innovative assistive technology research. This methodology was used with four groups of older people and the results revealed that the problems that were most frequently identified as difficult were bending and reaching, climbing stairs, and finding information. While focus group participants were able to suggest both existing and new solutions to these identified problems the researchers consider that further exploration of the methodology used in this study is needed in order to validate the choice of tools, the composition of the focus groups and the process by which researchers decide which of the potential solutions should be developed further.
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