October 14, 2022

Research supports development of inclusive technologies to enhance quality of living

York design Professor Shital Desai combines her expertise in robotics with product design to create innovative solutions that are both inclusive and inspired.

Shital Desai combines her industry experience in robotics engineering and interactive product design to develop solutions and interventions for the aging population.

Desai, an assistant professor of interaction design in York University’s School of the Arts, Management, Performance and Design (AMPD), in the Department of Design, is the principal investigator for AMPD’s Social and Technological Systems Lab (SaTS). The lab’s research projects focus on addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Un SDGs) 3 and 4, pertaining to good health and well-being and quality education.

Shital Desai

“I specifically try to come up with design solutions after understanding the systemic challenges people face,” says Desai. “If you just design services and technology for people without understanding their needs and abilities, most of them, including able-bodied people, find them difficult to use.”

She uses the Global Positioning System (GPS) as an example; people often find the prompts and instructions from the GPS insufficient and difficult, some ending up using more than one GPS at the same time.

“Older adults can and want to use modern technologies, contrary to the belief that the aging related disabilities prevent them from using them. The technologies are just not properly designed by the designers and developers,” says Desai.

She is also a strong proponent of inclusive design, but says we need appropriate methods to generate systemic outcomes. To read the full story, click here.