Main Article Content
Background: The use of appropriate footwear could reduce the risk of falls among the geriatric population. However, the elderly are generally reluctant to accept new footwear designs particularly with the incorporation of fabrication materials and functional design features that are perceived to be less comfortable. Co-creation activities that encourage user involvement during the product design process and development can therefore address this issue and provide unique benefits and better value for users, increase acceptance, and even lead to positive perception as well as positive psychological impacts, thereby increasing the practical use of newly designed footwear.
Objective: This study aims to investigate the impact of hands-on footwear workshops on perceived functionality of geriatric footwear for older women.
Method: Footwear co-design workshops for older women were carried out in two elderly centers in Hong Kong. Twenty-one healthy females between 64 and 80 years old (mean: 71; SD: 4.2), were recruited. Subjects were invited to decorate the prescribed geriatric footwear prototype and discuss their ideas on footwear design in a group of three. They were surveyed after completing the footwear decoration.
Main outcome measures: The perceptions of the subjects on the geriatric footwear and related design features were analysed.
Results: The questionnaire survey shows positive results in the psychological value of the workshops for older women. The participants express high levels of satisfaction with the co-design process and a strong sense of achievement with the newly designed geriatric footwear. The acceptance and awareness of the functions of the footwear are greatly enhanced.
Conclusions: The co-design approach has positive psychological impacts on the elderly and their acceptance of the final product. This approach also better meets the aesthetic needs of the users.