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8th European e-Accessibility Forum
User-driven e-Accessibility

31/03/2014, 09:00 - 18:00 - Registration from 8:30
Cité des sciences et de l'industrie - Universcience - Paris

 
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Getting older users involved: the experience of AGE Platform Europe

Ophélie DURAND (Brussels)
AGE Platform Europe

Speaker's information


Ophélie Durand

Ophélie DURAND is Project Officer and European Parliament Liaison Officer at the AGE Platform Europe. She joined AGE Platform Europe as Project and European Parliament Liaison Officer in April 2012. She is responsible for liaising with the European Parliament and is involved in several EU projects on ICT and health in which she follows the drafting of deliverables on users’ needs, the management of Advisory Boards, the organisation of meetings and dissemination activities.

 

Summary


AGE Platform Europe is a European network of around 167 organisations of and for people aged 50+ which aims to voice and promote the interests of the 150 million senior citizens in the European Union. AGE Platform Europe works to:

AGE mainly involves users in three different ways.

  1. User fora: an informal setting to share and test ideas, technologies and services with representatives of user organisations and/or individuals.
  2. Advisory Boards: a more permanent composition involving experienced representatives of older persons.
  3. Task Forces: AGE members and experts are actively called to provide their views and inputs on a wide range of issues

Users’ participation is assessed through evaluation questionnaires and qualitative studies, and experiences and outcomes are presented and discussed to allow further analysis and improvement.

Various channels are used to report back to AGE members: monthly newsletters, newsflashes, expert groups’ meetings (task forces), statutory meetings (General assembly and Council of administration), e-mails on specific topics, publications and brochures and the AGE website.

AGE believes that user involvement can bring an added value both to research and practice. Users have experiences, skills and abilities that complement the knowledge and expertise of researchers and policymakers. They also consider topics from a different perspective.

When older people are involved from the outset, their needs and preferences can be better understood and taken into account, thus better and directly informing the outcomes of the research itself. Market deployment of the products and services is facilitated and improved as real needs and problems are addressed. This obviously translates into better ownership and sustainability of the solutions they contributed to, leading thus to a better trade-off between costs and benefits for the society as a whole. Finally, user involvement can also help innovations to be adapted to the needs of different communities and to be transferred and scaled up.

Via the earlier involvement of older users in both policy making and research, AGE proves that seniors are an incredible resource for our societies, whereas they are too often conceived as a burden. Making their voice heard can only led to a win-win situation from which society as a whole can benefit.

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