Adrian Westaway – Bananas, Technology and Magic

Most mobile phones for the elderly don’t look like modern smartphones: they are large and have only five buttons – or even less. “They focus on disabilities”, Adrian Westaway explained in his talk at NEXT Berlin 2012. Together with the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design London and Samsung he followed a different design approach.

Instead of strongly restricting the functionality of ‘silver phones’, Westaway and his team started a dialogue with the target group. In order to overcome established ideas of mobile phones for seniors, they used innovative approaches.

For instance, a banana served as an analog medium for developing one’s ideal phone. In workshops elderly people had the opportunity to design the perfect and easily understandable packaging and manual.

“By spending time with people you can really design solutions that have a lot of depth and context. It is important not just to understand the size of their hand, but the room they are in and what they’re doing when they are actually using it”, Westaway concluded at the end of his talk.