White, P. J. and Devitt, Frank
The Design and Development of Novel Cooking and
Heating Products for Irish Older Adults: A Real Health
Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, 5 (3).
The world’s population is ageing; researchers have an increasingly important role to play
in innovating new products, appliances and services to allow for better everyday living conditions of
this ageing demographic. Health, wellbeing and age in place needs are of particular importance in
Ireland as research has revealed that as a nation we are living longer in ill health (McGill, 2009).
The most fundamental domestic products to health, wellbeing and in the promotion of ageing in place
are cooking and heating products, however little design research has been carried out in this area.
To inquire into the context of usability in older adults, ethnographic research has been conducted
within the homes of participant older adults to obtain a true insight into user needs in cooking and
heating products. This involved a yearlong (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter) study with forty
participants over the age of 70 years across Ireland and from various socio-economic groups. From
this study prototypes will be created and user tested by older adults to determine appropriate design
criteria for these products.
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