The research detailed within this thesis was undertaken in response to: 1) the ageing population; 2) a lack of older adult context (real world) capability data; and 3) the need for inclusive design within commercial design practice in order to minimise exclusion with everyday products. The principal aim of this programme of research was to generate older adult context capability data and translate it into a suitable form that will support the implementation of inclusive design within industry.
This aim was achieved through reviewing environmental context of use (Chapter 2), conducting two empirical studies: Study 1 (Chapter 4) investigated the impact of an everyday cold temperature (5°C) on older adults dexterity (fine finger dexterity, power and pinch grip); and Study 2 (Chapter 5) investigated the impact of everyday ambient illumination levels (overcast, in-house and street lighting) and contrast on older adults visual acuity. The capability data gathered from these studies were then translated into a suitable form for designers in order to support the implementation of inclusive design within industry; this was achieved through following a Human Centred Design process which involved multiple iterative and evaluative stages.
The findings from this thesis make several contributions to the area of inclusive design:
A framework that brings together a number of environmental contextual factors which can impact on product interaction;
Knowledge and understanding of how to collect and analyse original context capability data from older adults;
Capability data which quantifies the impact of everyday environmental conditions on older adults product interaction capabilities;
Knowledge and understanding of how to translate capability data into a suitable form to facilitate inclusive design;
An interactive data tool (Context Calculator) that will aid designers in the design and development of inclusive everyday products.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.