Translating inclusive capability data for designers

2011-03-03T15:10:08Z (GMT) by Edward Elton C.A. Nicolle
In 2009, the UK government launched a new strategy called ‘Building a society for all ages: a choice for older people’. One of the major challenges outlined in this strategy document is for old age to no longer be a time of dependency and exclusion. In relation to product design, accurate and relevant capability data is essential in helping designers overcome this challenge. However, there is a large and growing body of literature that suggests current capability datasets provide little if any assistance to designers in helping them reduce dependency and exclusion. This paper reports on the process of translating visual capability data into a usable form for designers. It details the need to consider inclusion data as opposed to exclusion data and how capability data can be converted into inclusion percentages using zscores. The paper also reports on the findings of a design research workshop where 3 data concepts were trialed. Findings suggest that the aesthetics/semantics of a dataset may be one of the key factors that contribute to its use by designers in industry. Also, one of the factors to emerge from this research is the importance of explaining the context of the data and the issues surrounding it.