Designing for Older Adults: Case Studies, Methods, and Tools

There are many products, tools, and technologies available that could provide support for older adults. However, their success requires that they are designed with older adults in mind by being aware of, and adhering to, design principles that recognize the needs, abilities, and preferences of diverse groups of older adults. Achieving good design is a process facilitated by seeing principles and guidelines in action. Design success requires understanding how to use the methods and tools available to evaluate initial ideas and prototypes. The goal of this book is to provide illustrative "case studies" of designing for older adults based on real design challenges faced by the researchers of the Center for Research and Education on Aging and Technology Enhancement (CREATE) over the past two decades. These case studies exemplify the use of human factors tools and user-centered design principles to understand the needs of older adults, identify where existing designs failed older users, and examine the effectiveness of design changes to better accommodate the abilities and preferences of the large and growing aging population.


  • Reviews important design considerations for older adults and presents a framework for design
  • Provides a series of real-world case studies to ground design principles and guidelines
  • Offers a unique set and broad array of design challenges, from the design of healthcare devices, to computer systems and apps, to transportation systems and robots
  • Gives an overview of emerging technologies, their potential benefits to older adults, anticipated design considerations, and new and emerging approaches to evaluating design
  • Covers these topics with designers in mind, providing the most up-to-date recommendations based on the scientific literature but in an accessible, easy-to-understand, non-technical manner

chapter 1|10 pages


chapter 2|18 pages

Defining Older Adult User Groups

chapter 3|18 pages

Assessing Needs with Older Adults

chapter 4|24 pages

Implementing Usability Methods

chapter 5|16 pages

Simulation for Design

chapter 6|14 pages

Modeling Older Adult Performance

chapter 7|14 pages

Designing Instructional Support

chapter 9|9 pages

Emerging Challenges and Approaches