Sweden is digitalising rapidly, yet the use of digital devices differs a lot between demographic groups. Most notably, seniors use digital devices in a much lesser extent, which puts them at risk of becoming excluded as societal services digitalise. The project’s findings revealed that there are many obstacles to assimilating to the digital milieu, debunking the widespread attitude that digital assimilation is easy. This project departs from the understanding that digital know-how is a skill that requires practice and that we therefore need designs that facilitates this learning. The project also found that inexperienced digital users become anxious when using digital devices, but that this often is remedied by using technology together with others.
The resulting design is called The digital game and is an educational tool in the shape of a memory game that creates a comfortable context where we can learn about digital technology together in a group.
Inspiration & Methods
Using the approach of participatory design, this project wanted to involve seniors, as they stood out in the statistics. However, this proved to be a really difficult since people in general don’t identify with the labels ‘old’ or ‘struggling with technology’. The topic was a delicate subject but I decided I didn’t want to shy away from it for that reason. Working with a sensitive issue, I had to develop guidelines for myself on how to deserve the trust of the participants. Using these guidelines, I was able to develop insights about why seniors were inhabiting digital spaces to a lesser extent. Through interviews, participant observations, service safaris and workshops I was able to get some glimpses into the wicked problem of digital exclusion. Me and the participants together decided how we wanted to frame this problem, who this project is for and who we think should be addressing it.
The digital game is a social memory game that teaches its players the meaning of common digital icons, to make them equipped for interpreting the digital language. The learning takes place in well-known setting: around the board game table- to allow its players to learn about something new through a familiar medium. The inherently social nature of the board game also makes it serve as a conversation starter around the wider issues of digital struggles.