User Participation as a Matter of Care. The Configuration of Older Users in the Design of Assistive Technologies

Cordula Endter


Abstract: The participation of older people in technology development is an ambivalent field: while promising a better fit between users and technology, it still is challenging for both the project and for older users. This is particularly the case when older people with cognitive or physical impairments are to be involved. The article examines the configuration of older people as users in the design of a digital memory training for older people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Referring to (feminist) STS, this configuration is conceptualised as a matter of care. Based on an ethnographic field study the article unfolds the spatial, affective, discursive and material practices of user configuration and describes ambivalences and asymmetries in the configuration process that determine the configuration of older people as users in user-centred design.

Keywords: age; technology; configuration; user-centred design; feminist STS.

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