Long-Term Co-Design Guidelines: Empowering Older Adults as Co-Designers of Social Robots


Anastasia Ostrowski

Anastasia Ostrowski

Ostrowski, A. K., Breazeal. C., & Park, H. W. (2021, August). Long-Term Co-Design Guidelines: Empowering Older Adults as Co-Designers of Social Robots. In 30th IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication.


Users can provide valuable insights for designing new technologies like social robots, with the right tools and methodologies. Challenges in inviting users as co-designers of social robots is due to lack of guidelines or methodologies to (1) organize co-design processes and/or (2) engage with people long-term to develop technologies together. The main contribution of this work is to provide guidelines for long- term co-design for how other researchers can adopt long- term co-design, informed by a 12-month co-design with older adults designing a social social robot. We leveraged human- centered, tactile and experiential design activities, including participatory design, based upon the following design principles: scenario specific exploration, long-term lived experiences, supporting multiple design activities, cultivating relationships, and employing divergent and convergent processes. We present seven different sessions across three stages as examples of this methodology that build on each other to engage users as co- designers, successfully deployed in a co-design project of home social robots with 28 older adults. Lastly, we detail 10 long- term divergent-convergent co-design guidelines for designing social robots. We demonstrate the value of leveraging people’s lived technology experiences and co-design activities to generate actionable social robot design guidelines, advocating for more applications of the methodology in broader contexts as well. 

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