The Challenge

Meaningful Social Innovation: Enhancing Well-being in Ageing Populations

The elderly population bracket (those aged 60 or older) is growing. Current projections show that by 2050 the elderly population will have tripled, exceeding the proportion of the population comprised of children (United Nations, 2013). The repercussions of these changes are already influencing elder people in the most OECD countries, illustrated by the fact that almost half of them already live independently, economically support themselves, and even make financial contributions to their younger family members (United Nations, 2013).

Despite numerous positive developments and quality of life improvements for the elderly, they continue to experience many significant challenges. While it is more common for them to acquire chronic and degenerative diseases, one of the most significant barriers elderly people face is the negative stereotypes that depict them as frail, ill, technology adverse, and lacking in agency. These stereotypes influence not only the way the society perceives them, but can have negative effects on their mental and physical performance (Gilleard & Higgs, 2000). This view of ageing population—while slow changing—has also been perpetuated in the field of Human Computer Interaction, where elderly people have been viewed by technology designers as a ‘problem ’to be solved (Vines, Pritchard, Wright, & Olivier, 2015).

Many organizations around the world are working to support positive approaches, such as ‘Healthy Ageing’, with the objective of enabling and encouraging an individual’s choices that strengthen older people’s well-being in later stages of life (WHO 2015). The WHO (2015) report suggests that older people value their role or identity in society, relationships, the possibility of enjoyment, autonomy, security, and the potential of personal growth. Additionally, older adult populations are diverse, and what interventions (including technologies) may be meaningful for some, might not be important (or even successful) for others. Furthermore, the World health Organization suggests that Information Communication Technologies (ICT) play an important role in improving older people’s wellbeing and in supporting aging at home.

There have been a growing number of positive design projects to support healthy ageing including Emmesh, a prototype of an application to share pictures and texts within a group of older people (Waycott et al., 2013); Ode a product that maintain older adults interest in eating and contributes to their nutrition (Rebola, 2015); and Messaging Kettle, that keeps friends in touch through the use of an ‘habituated object’ (Brereton et al., 2015). However, older adults’ access to the ICT still remains low compared to other age groups (Smith, 2014) reflecting that their needs, interests, and behaviours relating to technology many not mirror those of younger populations (Charness & Boot, 2016).

Your challenge is to create a design concept that supports ‘Healthy Ageing’ based on the interests and behaviours of a specific group of older people (60+). It will be crucial to understand the participant’s perspectives in order to overcome the stereotypes associated with ageing users and identify meaningful design interventions to support their needs.

You must address the following questions in your submission:

  • What does ‘Healthy Ageing’ mean, and what aspect are you addressing through your design concept?
  • What specific group of older people are designing for? How do you define your group?
  • Why is this a ‘meaningful’ social issue to address through design?
  • How does your design concept engage with new and emerging technologies?


  • Brereton, M, Soro, A, Vaisutis, K & Roe, P 2015, ‘The Messaging Kettle : Prototyping Connection over a Distance between Adult Children and Older Parents’, in Proc. CHI 2015, pp. 713–716.
  • Charness, N., & Boot, W. R. (2016). Technology, Gaming, and Social Networking. Handbook of the Psychology of Aging. Elsevier Inc.
  • Gilleard, C., & Higgs, P. (2000). Cultures of Ageing Self, Citizen and the body.
  • Rebola, Claudia B. “Designed Technologies for Healthy Aging.” Synthesis Lectures On Assistive, Rehabilitative, and Health-Preserving Technologies4.1 (2015): 1-186.
  • Smith, A. (2014). Older Adults and Technology Use. Pew Research Center, (April), 1–26.
  • United Nations. (2013). World Population Ageing. ( United Nations), 114.
  • Vines, J., Pritchard, G., Wright, P., & Olivier, P. (2015). An Age-Old Problem : Examining the Discourses of Ageing in HCI and Strategies for Future Research. Tochi, 22(1), 1–27.
  • Waycott, J., Vetere, F., Sonja, P., Kulik, L., Ozanne, E., Alan, G., & Downs, J. (2013). Older Adults as Digital Content Producers. Chi ’13, 39–48.
  • World Health Organization. (2015). World report on Ageing And Health. Retrieved from

Where to start

First make sure we have received and processed all your team information by viewing the team list here.

Then make a start on understanding the problem space by reading the following articles:

Now have a bit of a dig through the literature to see if you can find anything interesting. Once you’re done, it’s time to start brainstorming and working through your ideas together with your team. Please tweet @ozchi24 or email if you need any help.


Submission questions and criteria

In each of your submissions (particularly the paper and video) you should be addressing the following questions:

  • What does ‘Healthy Ageing’ mean, and what aspect are you addressing through your design concept?
  • What specific group of older people are designing for? How do you define your group?
  • Why is this a ‘meaningful’ social issue to address through design?
  • How does your design concept engage with new and emerging technologies?

Furthermore you will be assessed on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated understanding of the problem. Your submission should provide details of, and gives context to, a real world problem while providing insight into user experience and interaction.
  • Method and approach. The quality of your design process, and use of interaction design methods and theory.
  • Creativity, quality, innovation, and originality of design concept.
  • Quality of submission, including visual style, clarity, and depth.

1. Paper

To describe your project, you are asked to write a brief ‘mini paper’ in academic style using the SIGCHI Extended Abstract paper format. A Microsoft Word template can be found here. In your paper you must explain the concept, design process, and address the questions and criteria stated above.

You are strongly encouraged to include research references such as journals and conference papers, and other relevant links in the paper. Feel free to include lots of pictures and diagrams in the body of your paper!!

Including any references, your submission should be four pages long.

And remember, don’t panic! Four pages is much shorter than it sounds, and we will be providing you with examples and instructions on how to do it. We understand that it’s a 24-hour challenge, and that will be taken into consideration.

2. Video

To demonstrate your solution you are asked to submit a video. This can be either a video prototype, an overview of your solution, or a concept video. Anything from animation through screen capture to acting is valid. Note that this means that you don’t necessarily have to implement the system. The video should not be longer than 3 minutes. Include at least a title and your team name somewhere in the video. In your Paper’s references section, include a link to your video submission (a blog post where you embed your video will be sufficient). Keep in mind the above four questions when creating your video. The video, like the paper, is a significant portion of your submission.

3. Online journal

To demonstrate your design process you are required to keep an online journal in form of a team blog. Use the journal to record any major stages for your design, such as user research, prototyping, etc. We don’t expect you to share any ideas or results before the end of the 24-hour challenge, but what we want to be able to follow is the methodology you used to come up with your final design. Make sure we have all your team information (including the correct URL for your blog) by viewing the team list here. Include the names of all team members somewhere on your online journal. Include a link to your blog in your Paper’s references.

4. Mini-challenges

We will be running a series of mini-challenges that are designed to give you some direction and help you reach your milestones. Participation will be noted and the mini challenges winners will receive bonus points towards your team’s overall ranking. The three mini-challenges will be announced as the competition progresses.

How to submit.

This year we will be using a simple form that your team must complete prior to the competition close (Sunday 21 August 2016, 10am AEST).

Your Team ID is listed here. You must make sure that you enter the correct Team ID on the form.

As part of filling out the form you will need to upload your paper and provide links to your video, online journal, and mini-challenges..

Submissions will be open until Sunday 21 August 2016, 10am (AEST).

Prizes and awards that we’re giving out

Each of the three finalist teams will receive a travel scholarship to the OzCHI 2016 conference. The travel scholarships include up to:

  • a student registration to the OzCHI in Launceston, Tasmania. The ticket grants a student access to three days of keynote talks and conference sessions, the welcome reception and conference dinner.
  • some travel subsidies and reimbursements (details of which will be dependant on the finalist teams’ countries of origin).

The finalist teams will be invited to present their work in a special session at the conference. We will support remote video presentations (e.g. via Skype) if you can’t make it to Launceston. However, in this case your team won’t be able to claim the travel scholarship.

The winning team will be selected at the conference based on their presentations at a dedicated conference session and announced during the closing ceremony on the last day of the conference. The winning team(s) will receive prizes and all finalists will receive certificates of recognition.

Furthermore submissions deemed to be of a high level of quality will be published on this website.

Talk about your progress

Apart from the submission requirements mentioned above, we love to see as much ‘behind the scenes’ coverage as possible—use your design blog to tell us about your process as well as Google+, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, etc to cover every aspect of your design journey. Please use #ozchi24 for tagging any challenge-related posts.

Meet some of our reviewers

If you get stuck

You can post questions via twitter to @ozchi24 or email We will provide support throughout the 24 hours of the challenge.

The fine print

By participating in the OzCHI Student Design Challenge, you agree to the publication of your entry (video and online journal) on the challenge website ( and the conference website ( You further grant us the rights to include your video, blog, paper, etc., or parts there of, in a documentation about the challenge, sponsorship prospectus and other such material. Any material we publish will be fully referenced and your team will retain the copyrights. To receive the travel scholarship you will need to attend OzCHI 2016 and provide proof of your student status at the time the challenge took place.