Stigma Threat in Design for Older Adults: Exploring Design Factors that Induce Stigma Perception
Chen Li, Chang-Franw Lee, Song Xu


Health monitoring wearables (HMWs) are an emerging technology to assist healthy aging in older adults. However, stigma perception among elderly users can lead to issues such as non-acceptance or abandonment of HMWs. Based on concepts from social psychology and design theory, this paper deconstructs stigma perception in older adults’ daily life from the perspective of identity threat. Using HMW sample cards and real products as stimulus materials, the researchers employed a sentence completion task and a cultural probe to acquire stigma-related collective representations, situational cues, user characteristics, and design factors. Analysis using grounded theory revealed differences in the frequencies with which different HMWs induced stigma perception. The design factors that have the potential to induce stigma are summarized as lack of aesthetic appeal, accentuated social signifiers, poor affordance, and neglect of privacy. These four factors need to be treated with caution in the design process.

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