After meeting Vicky Hiscocks, the Head of Active Ageing at Derwen, I now feel that I understand a lot more about who I am designing for and what they want.
Our client is a dedicated older persons housing association called Derwen. Overall, they provide affordable homes to older people on low incomes. They currently already provide over 158,000 homes in Wales, which is about 10% of the Welsh population. They provide over 800 apartments, bungalows and houses, across Newport, Monmouthshire and Caerphilly.
Derwen are currently in the middle of developing a brand new development at the Gaer, in Newport – it’s situated right inside the existing bungalow development at the Gaer. Due to be finished at the end of Autumn this year, the Gaer will include 39 apartments, a communal hub, an outside terrace and landscaped gardens.
Derwen’s key ethos is Active Ageing.
What is Active Ageing?
No, it’s not older people doing zumba classes and yoga.
The most simple definition that Vicky used during her presentation is that:
“Active Ageing is extending healthy life expectancy and quality of life.”
It can also be described as being:
- the process of optimising opportunities for health, participation and security, in order to enhance quality of life as people age; or
- continuing participation in social, economic, cultural, spiritual and civic affair, not just the ability to be physically active.
Vicky also gave us an idea on who are client group is so that we can better understand who our target audience is. Some points on the resident living at Derwen, include:
- Age range: 55-98 years old (32% are aged 80+)
- Span 2-3 generations
- Generally on low incomes
- Some are still working
- Both couples and single people (75% of residents live alone)
- 68% have mobility problems or a long term illness
- A range of different interests, life experiences and skills
The last bullet point in the list above stands out to me most. I think it’s important to keep in mind that these older people are just like the rest of us, in the way that they are all different and individual, each with their own unique personality and traits. I intend to keep this in mind when it comes to the next few stages of this project.
What the target audience want:
- To be seen as a resource
- To have meaningful activities, where skills can be shared
- To get out and about to see their friends and family (25% of the residents say they only see family, friends or carers, once a week or less)
- To have companions and happy relationships
- To have good health, both physical and mental
- To feel secure and safe
- To have warm, friendly and well-suited living arrangements
- Not to be patronised or treated as passive recipients
Active Ageing priorities:
- Understanding residents (as individuals)
- Increasing health and wellbeing, reducing loneliness and isolation
- Embedding active ageing principles across all of their services
- Evidencing our impact on quality of life
- Learning, testing, innovating, leading
Derwen’s vision for the new development:
- A place which maximises independence for the residents.
- Real opportunities to engage with other residents and the wider community.
- A development which enhances the existing community at the Gaer.
- Lots of good quality outdoor space to help avoid isolation and promote good health.
- A flexible and high standard communal space which will provide a welcoming, central, vibrant focal point for residents and the wider Gaer community.
Amanda Protheroe from the Cardiff School of Health Sciences, who we will be working with us alongside Derwen during this project, visited us in the studio this week to talk to us.
Her talk really made me think more from the older peoples’ point of view and encouraged me to go away and carry out some further research of my own into how older people might perceive or interpret things.
Two key pieces of data have really stuck in my mind from Amanda’s presentation. The first of which is: 64% of older people have a visual impairment; and the other is: 20% (and rising) of 75+ year-olds have some form of dementia. Because these two stuck out to me so much, I have looked further into what it is like to have an eyesight condition or dementia.
Common eyesight difficulties and problems:
- Steady decline in vision, particularly for those who are 50+ years old.
- Glare sensitivity.
- Dim light or too much light can make it difficult to see/read.
- Slower adaption to changes in light levels.
- Colour and depth perception is not as good.
- Way finding is harder.
- Sight loss is a major factor contributing to falls and accidents.
Common dementia difficulties and problems:
- Interpreting shadows or dark areas as holes in the ground.
- Interpreting shiny surfaces as being wet.
- Interpreting bold or busy patterns as being moving objects.
- Struggling to find their way to somewhere (e.g. toilet).
Thinking about these issues that older people may have, I can use different techniques to avoid the potential problems when doing my own ideation and designing. I need to put myself in their (the older peoples’) shoes and experience it as if I am them, and not a young adult.
Things to think about:
- Using good colour contrast will definitely be effective as it will make things more easy and clear to see.
- Any print should be large enough to read – nothing below 16 pt for body text.
- Use effective lighting to reduce shadows, glare and reflections – natural light is the best.
- Good signage will enable independence, confidence and better wellbeing among the older people – iconography/imagery could work well alongside print.
- Artworks can encourage engagement and also help older people find their war around – they can use them like landmarks.
- Avoid distractions.
Our final deadline for the Digital Me project is on Tuesday so I am just adding the final finishing touches to all of my submissions before then.
I am feeling confident with the way I am heading and I have not got a lot to do before handing in my finished work for the deadline on Tuesday. I have completed my Research and Development PDF for Persuasion and am currently finishing off the one for Penguin. I have already got a Research and Development PDF for branding that I created last year after completing the Brandworld project, so I have just got to add and change this one accordingly to my further development since then and my newer final outcomes.
For the finishing touches of my CV, online portfolio, PDF portfolio, I have edited some details to add to the overall final look of the finished pieces. After a tutorial with Neil, we spoke about how underlining titles, historically, was not considered needed after ‘bold‘ was invented. Although I have decided against using the bold version of Playfair Display as I think it ruins the beauty of the contrast between the thick and thin lines in the lettering of the typeface, I have removed the underlines of the titles and the overall look of the CV is much cleaner without them. I have done the same thing on my PDF portfolio by removing the underlines of the titles. Removing these underlines have actually added to the consistency of my overall project, because I noticed that the website does not have underlined titles. There is enough definition between the title and the body text because they are different typefaces – the title is serif and the body text is sans serif, the title is in orange and the body text is black, and there is also a big size difference between the two.
To match the removal of all my title underlines, I have edited my ‘I’m Amber‘ logo slightly as well. I have removed the underline below the text, but kept the line above as the image of me is sat, resting on it. I have adjusted the weight of the upper line to make up for it’s staying though.
Inspired by Cath’s talk that she gave us on persuasion techniques, I decided that my next step of the process was to do some research into some existing pieces.
After my meeting with my clients and understanding that the outcome that they desired was a series of short food-wellbeing videos, it made sense that I look into existing animations already out there. This helped me to see what worked and also what didn’t work so well. I began by looking at what ‘food safety’ videos were already out there, but then moved on to a wider research area.
I really like the idea of using simple black and white illustrated drawings which lead me to looking into the technique of using stop-motion. Some other animations that worked really well was the actual use of real food, and although my clients said that their market research showed that viewers weren’t keen on the idea of having food on-screen (as it could bring on feelings of nausea), if I used the food carefully and in the right way, it could work. I also discovered ‘Gulp‘, the largest stop-motion animation ever made, which although I am probably not capable of during this project, was pretty inspiring and amazing to watch and learn how it was created. Considering my clients have already got a booklet that is key to their campaign currently, which uses icons and small graphic pictograms, I believe that the illustrated stop-motion idea has the most potential.
What didn’t work:
Although I found loads of great animations and videos that are already out there, some videos did not work so well at all. When it came to actually ‘food safety’ videos, seeing the use of photographic film to film live food preparation, I can definitely see how this could perhaps bring on feelings of nausea so would not want to use this technique in my own videos. Also, the use of somebody standing and talking into the camera does not work, even if they are ‘doctors’ or ‘professionals’ – personal stories do not work.
After realising that I think I wanted to go down the stop-motion route, several animations shone out to me the most. One in particular was ‘Manipulation‘ by Daniel Greaves. Although this animation is rather old and was created in 1991, it is still a brilliant stop-motion animation which mixes both illustration and photographic image to create an incredible animated pieced all based around a stickman character who is drawn to life. This is one of my favourite animations and I think it would be a great opportunity to create a modern version of it in relation to my food safety brief.
Today we had a talk in the library with Martha Lee, the academic librarian for CSAD, who showed us the best way to find and use images correctly within our work.
The Cardiff Metropolitan University library subscribes to and pays for a huge amount and range of databases, including image databases – so we should make the most of using them, especially since it’s our tuition fees that are paying for them.
The image databases can be found on MetSearch under ‘Databases A-Z‘, which takes you to a page listing all of the databases in alphabetical order. From here you can sort the databases by subject, material type and also search for certain words. Martha recommended that rather than sorting it to just ‘Graphic Design‘ in subject, that we only sort it by ‘Multimedia‘ under material type, because this is the best way of gaining the best search results.
Useful image databases for graphic design:
- Bridgeman Education
- Berg Fashion Library
- British Library Flickr Photostream
- John Johnson Collection
- National Gallery
- New York Public Library Image Collections
- Paperbacks Galore
- World Images
- Worth Global Style Network (WGSN)
We were taught how to use search terms. So for example, if you were doing research into Coco Chanel, some search terms to use could be: “French”, “Fashion Designer”, “Perfume”, “Little Black Dress”, “Chanel No’ 5”. A more complex example would be, if you were researching around a hypothesis, question or statement, such as your dissertation title. So for example, if your topic was to “outline and evaluate the origins and development of the Arts and Crafts movement”. The first thing you would need to do in order to create your search terms would be to highlight the key concepts.
“Outline and evaluate the origins and development of the Arts and Crafts movement.”
After you have highlighted your key concepts from your sentence, a good way of expanding your search terms is by putting the words into a table. From your key concepts, you can stretch and create related keywords – there’s nothing wrong with using a thesaurus to help you do this.
Copyright protects the creator or owner of an image, but allows the user to make use of an image via fair dealing. Fair dealing involves asking the owner’s permission or adhering to certain conditions (known as, creative commons). Copyright sets out to:
- Acknowledge ownership of work and stop other people taking credit for it.
- Ensure owners or authors are paid for their work.
- Deter the copying of work for commercial gain or artist recognition.
It is important for designers to understand copyright. While fair dealing permits you to use a small part of other’s works of art without permission, you should still be careful and seek advice or permission if you are unsure.
What does fair dealing involve?
You can copy an image without permission for:
- Non-commercial research.
- Private study.
- Educational or teaching use (i.e. instructional purposes rather than decorative reasons).
- For criticism or review purposes.
- Make multiple copies of an image.
- Share images online – unless: you get permission; it explicitly allows you to; the copyright has expired; or via Creative Commons.
- Use images for commercial gain or in employment.
Google Image Search
Google is a tricky one when it comes to copyright. The easiest and best way to avoid any problems is to use the Google advanced search – under ‘Tools‘, change the ‘Usage rights‘ drop down options to ‘Labeled for reuse‘.
Acknowledge, acknowledge, acknowledge!
You need to cite and reference any and all images that you use in your dissertations. Whether you are using an image for private study or for business, you must always give credit to the owner or author.