Emotion-led technology design as enabler for older adults

This workshop is to LEARN

WhenFriday 26th of August from 9h to 10h30


Workshop goals

  • Learning about the relevance of users’ emotions for designing technologies,
  • Ability to create a motivational goal model with a focus on emotional goals,
  • Understanding how the motivational goal model can help to discuss design options with users and guide design decisions in the development process.

Description and methodology

Technologies can offer valuable services to older people and their families, but they often suffer from low acceptance and consequently low take up. In particular assistive technologies may ignore many of the emotional needs and contextual conditions of the older people using them. For example, there is stigma attached to using technologies specifically designed for older adults. The design and functionality of these products often imply frailty.

The focus in this workshop is the explicit use of emotional goals in technology development during both user needs elicitation, design and evaluation phase. Emotional goals are different from functional goals, which address the functional intent of users, and from quality goals, which detail the qualities of the functional goals (e.g. “easy to use”). Emotional goals address how the user feels about a system rather than the properties of a system. The distinction between functional, quality and emotional goals resonates with people as they grapple to effectively use new technology. We are demonstrating the importance of exploring emotional goals with older users during technology development using co-creative methods. We explain how to revisit the model during design, implementation, and evaluation phase.

Target audience (profile and ideal size)

This workshop uses examples from a Living Lab (Future Self and Design) with older adults and respective examples around quality of life and well-being of older adults. However the method is not restricted to this domain. Members of Living Labs from other domains will also profit from the method and be able to apply it to their domain.

Capacity: 24 participants (max. 48)

Draft agenda 

  • The importance of emotion-led design
  • Creating a motivational goal model
    (emotional, functional, quality goals)
  • Use models for co-creative activities
  • Use model as guide in the development process
  • Evaluate emotional goals
  • Discussion and conclusion


Workshop organisersSonja Pedell, Gareth Priday