A Network of senior co-designers
Fraunhofer AICOS (Assistive Information and Communication Solutions) has a mission to create ‘Remarkable technology, Easy to use’. The only way to live up to this mission is to involve end-users themselves in the design process as co-creators. This is what motivated the creation of COLABORAR – a network of and for seniors – that aggregates now over 400 older adults who are helping shape future technology.
Since its establishment in 2011, COLABORAR has supported over 40 AAL projects and has carried out over 1500 design & research activities. Institutions or individual users who want to be part of the network can easily register online and participate in interviews, focus groups, field observations, co-creation workshops, usability tests, amongst other activities. Current COLLABORATORS, also including therapists, medical doctors, psychologists or informal caregivers, have already helped to bring highly relevant, highly usable and highly useful AAL products to market. Such is the case with the GoLivePhone, an extremely user-friendly smartphone suite of applications designed with and for seniors, which is now being successfully commercialised around Europe.
In connection with the specialists in Human-Computer Interaction working at Fraunhofer AICOS, COLABORAR can help companies at all stages of product research and development: user research with older adults, ideation and co-creation, and, of course, testing the solutions with real end-users for product improvement and better market uptake. Furthermore, we are beginning to be able to statistically characterise groups of older adults and identify opportunities for new technology developments to cover yet unmet needs.
Advantages for COLLABORATORS are clear: engaging in out of the ordinary activities, having a say in shaping future technology, learning about ICT, getting to know people from different places, interacting with researchers or getting the chance to be involved in research projects. But you can learn about this from seniors’ own testimonials, such as the one from Mr. Vieira: “I think you took a big step forward, especially for people of our age. I recommend it… and I’ve talked about it to many people!”
For a sneak peek into our work, make sure to watch our video of COLABORAR.