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Age & Ability Research Lab

How can designers shape a future that includes people of all ages and abilities?

Peeling vegetables
Hand Healthy

The Age & Ability Research Lab creates practical design ideas to improve the lives of people of all ages and abilities. We address the major challenges of daily living, using techniques drawn from design ethnography and inclusive design, to better understand needs and aspirations. We consider people as equals in the process, working closely with diverse groups of older, younger and differently-abled people throughout our research.

Themes and Projects
The projects in the Age & Ability Research Lab are organised into four research themes. The first three focus on projects with industry and research council projects. The fourth, the Business of Inclusive Design, looks at engaging with practising designers and business through knowledge transfer mechanisms such as workshops, events and the creation of tools and resources.

Ability & Diversity
This research strand involves people with a range of abilities, working across the physical, sensory and cognitive ranges that we all can experience at different stages of our life rather than just addressing functional disability, the projects aim to build on people's remaining capabilities, addressing individual need as well as aspiration. Understanding neuro-diversity is an emerging area that is increasingly important within this theme.

Everyday Living
Projects in this strand focus on everyday activities, looking at how design can create better choice, increased independence and a more engaging experience with the products, systems and services that surround us. The work addresses people of all ages and abilities, involving them in the design process as active participants in creating new ideas to improve quality of life.

People & Technology
Digital technologies are increasingly present in almost every area of our lives, yet many barriers still exist to selecting, learning and using software, hardware, devices and services. This research strand takes a people-centred approach to understanding user behaviour, digital interactions and communication needs for a range of individuals and community networks.

Business of Inclusive Design
With its people-centred focus, inclusive design has growing relevance to design practice and to industry. This research theme includes projects and initiatives to create effective knowledge transfer through publications, workshops, events and executive education. A key aim is to increase the 'real world' application of inclusive design in a way that benefits business and brings about lasting impact.