Life-Based Design: Form of life as a foundation for ICT design for older adults: Dissertation

    Research output: ThesisDissertationCollection of Articles


    The measure of technology is in its ability to enhance the quality of life for people. There is always a specific reason for adopting and using technology, and this is to reach the goals that people have set for themselves in their everyday life. Technology should support people in carrying out their actions when accomplishing these goals. This means that good ICT design should fit technology in service of practical human life. Consequently, it is necessary, when beginning to design, to analyse what kinds of technologies people need by examining and analysing life itself. To answer this challenge, a new design paradigm has been developed in this dissertation. The basic concept in this paradigm is 'form of life'. With this concept it is meant any systems of rule-following actions in people's lives. Forms of life offer a simple but very usable approach to examine life in all kinds of situations. They define what people do by defining their rule-following actions and attributes in a context. With the construction of a description of a form of life it is possible to get an idea about what ICT-designers can do to improve the lives of the people sharing that particular form of life. Defining components of a form of life is a critical step in the design. It allows designers to understand how people could be supported in their pursuit towards the goals they have in participating in a particular form of life. Following the paradigm introduced, the rule-following actions and design-relevant attributes can be explicated and configured to technology-supported actions (TSAs). Creating the descriptions of TSAs enables designers to define problems accurately and to concentrate on designing solutions for them. The new perspective to ICT design is discussed in this dissertation in a context of older adults and gerontechnology by reviewing the main ideas and findings of the field. This material provides us with a concrete conception of how forms of life can be investigated to direct the development of new technologies. The aim of Life-Based Design is the use of vital understanding about people's life as the basis of the creation of design ideas and concept design, to guide the whole development process of products and services. It is thus the kind of activity which should be carried out first in the development process. It will produce decisive information for further phases in the development process.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor Degree
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Jyväskylä
    Place of PublicationJyväskylä
    Print ISBNs978-951-39-3626-6
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


    • human-technology interaction
    • Life-Based Design
    • design
    • form of life
    • human-centred design
    • gerontechnology
    • ACM categories: H.1.2 USER/MACHINE SYSTEMS Human factors


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