Elderly people exercising via internet video
Technology has been proven to positively impact health and wellbeing – specifically, assistive technologies, virtual reality, virtual social gatherings and apps that support getting together for social activities.
But, with an ageing population, how can we ensure these technologies are accessible and appealing to older people?
A new toolkit has been launched by a project co-led by the University of Plymouth to help developers consider older people’s accessibility right from the start.
The toolkit, available on the University website, is the main outcome of the Generating Older Active Lives Digitally (GOALD) project – a three-year project funded by UKRI, and co-led by the University of Plymouth’s Centre for Health Technology and the University of Stirling.
GOALD explored how digital resources such as virtual reality can help promote a healthier more active lifestyle for over-60s, and the toolkit was designed based on feedback from the end users themselves.
Over 150 people trialled existing technologies, highlighting their preferences on what they wanted to achieve by using it, and enabling researchers to identify what was missing. Through the co-design process that followed, the toolkit was created, and is now being shared with technology developers to support the future creation of digital products for older adults with a focus on physical activity.
Already, businesses have implemented recommendations from the toolkit to help improve their products, including adding subtitles to videos, and adding more older adults into their visuals.

The workshops were vital to understanding the role technology can play, and where the gaps were in ensuring it works for everyone of all ages.

Now that the findings have been put in the toolkit, we’re working with businesses to make sure that they take the recommendations on board – and we’re delighted that several already have.
The Centre for Health Technology is all about ensuring the work we do reaches the people who need it most, so we’re proud of our work over this three-year project.

Ray Jones MBERay Jones MBE
Plymouth lead of the GOALD project

Centre for Health Technology

Bringing together digital health and health technology expertise from across the University to drive the development, evaluation and implementation of innovative technologies, products, services and approaches to transform health and social care.
Centre for Health Technology