Elderly Gaming on Tabletop Interfaces


Designing systems for older adults can be a challenge. It is different from designing for any other age group. Older adults use less technology than younger ones that were born surrounded by it. The older adults do not use technology if they do not see benefits on using it. On the other hand, sometimes they do not use it because they are not able to; they face barriers in its use due to finding systems that do not suit their characteristics and needs.

This dissertation documents the analysis, design and evaluation of an elderly game on tabletop interfaces. User-Centered Design was the methodology used for this project, in order to place the end-users at the center of the design process. In this context, it was used to understand the older adults’ specificities and characteristics and therefore to design an interface suitable for their needs. The use of this methodology allowed to create a product easy to use by the older adults. In the context of User-Centered Design, we applied user research, informal interviews and observations, low-fidelity prototyping and user-based evaluation. The user research and the informal interviews and observations were used to understand the target audience of the project and to define the requirments for the game. Then, these requirements were projected on low-fidelity prototypes for the game and its menus interfaces. These prototypes were created and iterated with the feedback of the user-based evaluation.

The designed game is suitable to older adults and aims the promotion of their wellbeing. It is a group game that aims the social interaction between the participants by having two teams competing to complete a goal. Each team has to collect images that have one subject in common defined by a category. The game finishes when the two teams collected all the images that meet their category. This game focuses on stimulating some of the human functions that may decrease with aging and on trying to avoid some of the problems that may arise from that decline.


Author: Luís Ferreira

Type: MSc thesis

Partner: Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto

Year: 2011