Designing for the other 'hereafter': when older adults remember about forgetting

Laura Ramos, Elise Van Den Hoven, Laurie Miller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Designing to support memory for older individuals is a complex challenge in human-computer interaction (HCI) research. Past literature on human memory has mapped processes for recalling past experiences, learning new things, remembering to carry out future intentions and the importance of attention. However, the understanding of how older adults perceive forgetting in daily life remains limited. This paper narrows this gap through a study with older persons (n=18) living independently using self-reporting and semi-structured focus groups to explore what they forget, how they react, and what mechanisms they put in place to recover from and avoid forgetting. Findings include occurrences of prospective and retrospective memory lapses, conflicting negative and neutral perceptions, and techniques to manage forgetting. Participant responses indicate that an awareness of forgetting fosters internal tensions among older adults, thereby creating opportunities for further design research, e.g., to defuse and normalise these reactions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2016 #chi4good
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings, 34th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781450333627
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event34th Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2016 - San Jose, United States
Duration: 7 May 201612 May 2016


Other34th Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Jose


  • Diary study
  • Everyday remembering
  • Human memory
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Interaction design
  • Older persons
  • Perceptions about forgetting


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