Long Life Project

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Do you use a walking stick? A shopping trolley? A hearing aid, a walker, a mobile phone for the elderly? The most logical thing would be to use them if you needed to. But we know all too well, either from our own experience or from our elderly relatives and friends, that things are different in real life. Boring dark bags on wheels whose highlight is the tartan pattern of the fabric, walking sticks made of materials we would otherwise only tolerate in stepladders, a phone that looks like a homage to an emergency services radio. These are all objects that scream out to the world that their user is a SENIOR, in some way disadvantaged, and that they have no other choice but to use what is available. That's why our loved ones avoid such products as much as they can.

Yet we know that if we actively engage the end users, i.e. the elderly (not their carers or younger relatives, but indeed the elderly themselves), in the design process, everyone wins. In the field of design, as in other areas, we have a lot to learn from our elders. They want to use beautiful things too. And inclusive design born this way ultimately serves everyone. Shopping trolleys with clever features and contemporary looks end up being used by everyone who wants or needs to carry heavier loads on foot. A simple yet fully functional user interface saves everyone time. We don't even associate standing supports on station platforms exclusively with the elderly anymore. You see, marketing becomes part of the solution. The vegetable peeler, which was developed in cooperation with people suffering from arthritis, has been an unexpected commercial success even among users without this disability. It is simply more comfortable and more robust. In short, better.

Vladimíra Černá

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