The Design and Development of Novel Cooking and Heating Products for Irish Older Adults: A Real Health Need

By P.J. White and Frank Devitt.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The world’s population is ageing; researchers have an increasingly important role to play in innovating new products, appliances and services to allow for better everyday living conditions of this ageing demographic. Health, wellbeing and age in place needs are of particular importance in Ireland as research has revealed that as a nation we are living longer in ill health (McGill, 2009). The most fundamental domestic products to health, wellbeing and in the promotion of ageing in place are cooking and heating products, however little design research has been carried out in this area. To inquire into the context of usability in older adults, ethnographic research has been conducted within the homes of participant older adults to obtain a true insight into user needs in cooking and heating products. This involved a yearlong (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter) study with forty participants over the age of 70 years across Ireland and from various socio-economic groups. From this study prototypes will be created and user tested by older adults to determine appropriate design criteria for these products.

Keywords: Older Adults, Product Design, Empathy, Design Ethnography, Personas

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.235-248. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.907MB).

Dr. P.J. White

Assistant Lecturer Product Design, PhD Researcher, Department of Design and Innovation, School of Business, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Kildare, Ireland

PJ has eight years experience as a Product Designer innovating for small to multi-national businesses and directing a design consultancy. His work at Schivo group Waterford included designing new products and project management from sketch to fully operational assemblies, liaison with clients and working with all departments throughout the product life cycle. Products range from the consumer, industrial solutions, computer and medical sectors. His work at Waterford Stanley/ AGA Food services group included generation of concepts for new stove and cooker products, liaising with marketing departments on consumer needs and requirements, developing concepts to fully working prototypes and creating final 3D parametric models and 2D detailed drawings for suppliers. He began his academic career as an Assistant Lecturer of Industrial Design and Product Design Innovation at the Institute of Technology Carlow. He joined the National University of Ireland Maynooth as a PhD Researcher and Associate Lecturer in October 2008 and became an Assistant Lecturer in September 2010. Here he teaches modules in Usability, Ergonomics and Aesthetics, Universal Design, Conceptualisation and Model-making, History of Design and Design Processes to Undergraduate Product Design students.

Dr. Frank Devitt

Head of the Department of Design and Innovation, Department of Design and Innovation, School of Business, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Maynooth, Ireland

Dr. Frank Devitt is Head of the Department of Design and Innovation, in the School of Business at NUI Maynooth. Frank previously has been Head of Dept of Electronic Engineering and, prior to joining NUIM, he worked in technology industries doing international business for over 23 years. His various roles were CEO, Founder, Business Manager and Engineering Manager in a number of multi-national and indigenous firms.


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