Co-designing Digital Technology Strategies with older adults
Digital engagement is important for seniors and provides them with not only confidence to navigate risks but also to learn more about technology that is critical to their wellbeing.
Perceived risks are one of the main reasons many older adults do not engage with technology and the digital economy.
This project draws on the perceived risks that affect older adults the most and outlines co-designed strategies that respond to their lived experiences of technology – connecting practices with perceptions.
Our research adopted an innovative multidisciplinary approach in collaboration with the University of the Third Age (U3A) Network Victoria, the City of Whittlesea and funded by a grant from the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN).
What we did:
Drawing on insights from previous research - ‘Perceived digital technology risks’ , this project developed educational resources to help inform the practices of older adults (seniors) and to reduce their perceptions of technological risk:
Three digital resource tools to assist seniors and industry:
A series of webinar and workshops to assist with continued education to industry and organisations.
Downloadable ‘Strategies to Increase Your Digital Confidence to Connect Safely’ booklet.
Associated research: Download our research publication Co-creating ICT Risk Strategies with Older Australians: A Workshop Model Sheahan, J., Hjorth, L., Figueiredo, B., Martin, D. M., Reid, M., Aleti, T., Buschgens, M., Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health
Refocus the conversation from the dyadic thinking of the digital divide (included vs excluded) to a spectrum thinking, which recognises the diversity of technology needs, goals and capabilities among seniors.
Expand on the current understanding of security risks, which focuses solely on tangible issues such as scams and identity theft, to incorporate more knowledge on the experiential side of risks.
Acknowledge the intersectionality of the digital exclusion, moving from seniors as a category that needs to be understood on its own to considering its intersection with other important factors such as gender, social class, and ethnic background.
Adopt more participatory methods in researching seniors’ relationships with technology. Older adults perceive a growing societal awareness that the voice of the older adults must be listened to.
Shift the public debate, and consequently research action, from an individual skills growth to a more socially-embedded practice focus.