Maximizing the Benefits of Participatory Design for Human–Robot Interaction Research With Older Adults

Wendy A. Rogers, Travis Kadylak, Megan A. Bayles

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: We reviewed human–robot interaction (HRI) participatory design (PD) research with older adults. The goal was to identify methods used, determine their value for design of robots with older adults, and provide guidance for best practices. Background: Assistive robots may promote aging-in-place and quality of life for older adults. However, the robots must be designed to meet older adults’ specific needs and preferences. PD and other user-centered methods may be used to engage older adults in the robot development process to accommodate their needs and preferences and to assure usability of emergent assistive robots. Method: This targeted review of HRI PD studies with older adults draws on a detailed review of 26 articles. Our assessment focused on the HRI methods and their utility for use with older adults who have a range of needs and capabilities. Results: Our review highlighted the importance of using mixed methods and including multiple stakeholders throughout the design process. These approaches can encourage mutual learning (to improve design by developers and to increase acceptance by users). We identified key phases used in HRI PD workshops (e.g., initial interview phase, series of focus groups phase, and presentation phase). These approaches can provide inspiration for future efforts. Conclusion: HRI PD strategies can support designers in developing assistive robots that meet older adults’ needs, capabilities, and preferences to promote acceptance. More HRI research is needed to understand potential implications for aging-in-place. PD methods provide a promising approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-450
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Factors
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2022


  • aging-in-place
  • assistive robots
  • human–robot interaction
  • older adults
  • participatory design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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