The Oud-door

A meeting place for elderly

By means of a literature search on ergonomics, interviews, observations, and discussions with experts and older adults, a list of needs and preferences was created and used to guide a design for an outdoor meeting space for older adults, dubbed “The Oud-door”. Older adults were engaged in the design process by asking them questions, discussing the ideas and concepts with them and finally conducting a usability test. A design was made for a bench, rollator chair, bicycle stand and shelter. Manufacturer Jan Kuipers Nunspeet will develop this design further and The Oud-door will be available on the market in the near future.

An article has been published on this design project in the American magazine ‘Ergonomics in Design fall 2009’ and the Dutch magazine ‘Tijdschrift voor de Ergonomie (2009)’.

The Oud-door setup
The Oud-door setup


The bench is semicircular in shape, which stimulate interaction among users and leaves an open view to the public. The end of the armrest is angled upward. This helps users keep their balance when standing up and sitting down. Users can grasp the armrest from a standing position. The backrest is arched, providing lumbar support.

Flower boxes fulfill the desire expressed by older adults for vegetation. The boxes are placed behind the bench.

The bench
The Oud-door bench

A special chair was designed so users could place a rollator beneath it. When the rollator is parked under the chair, the user is able to sit on the chair seat. The seat can also be used without a rollator under it.

High chair
The oud-door high chair

The research revealed two types of older adults: active and inactive. To bring these two types of people together, it was decided to place a game table in the Oud-door. Two stools are placed on each side. The stools allow the users to sit either facing each other or facing other users. The table allows those with wheelchairs and motorized scooters to sit in the open spaces beside the chess table.

chess table
The Oud-door chess table

A bicycle can be parked against a special stand. The user can lean against the seat attached to the front of the stand and talk to others or look around.

bicycle stance
The Oud-door bicycle stance

The waste bin has a special place for cigarettes.

wate bin
The Oud-door waste bin


The shelter protects the users against wind, rain, and sun. The roof is made of glass and Trespa plates (high-performance panels for exterior cladding), which offers a choice to sit either in the shade or in the sun.

The Oud-door shelter