In this paper it is argued that design has an important role to play in developing age-friendly products and services, and in particular in ensuring that mainstream products and new technologies respond to and meet the needs of older people. There are already many examples of good and appropriate design, and the philosophies, methodologies and strategies that are needed are largely in place. In order to put these concepts into practice on a significant scale the value of design as applied research should be recognised, and designers brought into research and development programmes and projects from the very beginning. The concept of ‘critical users’ is introduced and it is argued that working with older users can act as a spur to innovation and improvements in products and services. Technology should serve people, and the needs of older people will best be served by regarding them as consumers and including them in the research and development process.
Just as design should be an integral part of Gerontechnology, the principles of Gerontechnology should become an integral part of design education.
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