Connected Resources: A Research through Design approach to designing for older people’s resourcefulness

Connected Resources are a family of combinable devices that add digital capabilities to mundane objects, in order to support everyday strategies of resourcefulness in older people. Using Connected Resources as an example, this paper describes de- signing for older people’s resourcefulness using an RtD process. Here, the artifact dimensions of openness, which is needed when designing for resourcefulness, are generated through an experimental study with prototypes. The dimensions of a variety of use were identified during a participatory session in which uses for prototypes in the everyday practices of older people were explored. Finally, design considerations to ensure older people’s different levels of independence from technology were determined. The paper first describes three working prototypes built during the first design iteration. It then moves on to showcase two studies conducted with these prototypes and the insights in relation to the variables of openness and variety. Finally, we discuss how these insights were used to redefine functionalities and interaction qualities in the second iteration, and how these insights influenced the prototypes’ shape, materiality and semiotics, as well as the conceptualization of data visualizations on the online platform. Lastly, we provide a reflection of the knowledge generated in the RtD process.