initiated October 2004
As nations such as the United Kingdom go through a period of rapid population ageing, designers are implicated in the strategic and economic response. This has lead to an increased awareness and popularity of ‘inclusive’ philosophies to design. The roTell project was the first of a number of explorations within this then-nascent area of design, which often led to outcomes that opposed contemporary inclusive design rather than re-enacting the accepted doctrines.
RoTell was a response to the issue of older users with reduced hand and wrist dexterity having to deal with mobile devices that appeared to be going through a process of continual miniaturisation. Whilst commercial and industrial design sectors have responded by developing devices that reduce functionality and physically exaggerate certain aspects of the interface for ease-of-use, research with members of the elder community suggested that there was somewhat a stigma attached to these products. Whilst they appeared to accept their altering physical capabilities, there was a desire to play with the novel.
RoTell offered a radical alternative to the offerings of the commercial sector. Rather than succumbing completely to the physical in-capabilities of human ageing, roTell was conceived to exert some physical effort on the part of the user and exercise change in the muscular and joint structure of the wrist and hand over time. The robustness of the rotation mechanism, used to switch between different menus and functions, was juxtaposed against the delicate petals [buttons] that required an element of precision from the user.