Dawn Sakaguchi-Tang, a doctoral student at the University of Washington’s Human Centered Design and Engineering department, engaged Northaven residents for her thesis research on “understanding how designers and older adults can partner to design new technologies.”
Six residents from Northaven—Annie, Katherine, Judy, Judith, Jacquie and Jaqi—collaborated with student designers from the University of Washington to design new health and well-being technologies for older adults. Over the course of six weeks, they worked in small teams engaging in activities typically done in the tech industry to design and evaluate technologies such as “creating the persona of a user” and “brainstorming design solutions,” then turning those solutions into a prototype using craft materials.
The students and residents had intergenerational conversations sharing rich insights and perspectives on health and well-being.
“Residents contributed creative and innovative ideas to address health and well-being issues. This experience left a lasting impression on the student designers,” said Sakaguchi-Tang. “We are so thankful to Northaven to have had this opportunity to collaborate with such talented people.”
I relished working in our small group creating ideas together. Our perspectives due to age were noticeable.
“At first I was bored to tears, but as we progressed through the sessions I became engaged. I was very impressed by one of the students, Esther, who directed our group. Our student group leader was engaging and full of good ideas. By the time we came to the last two sessions, our group had come with not one, but three different workable projects.”