Clever addition pushes all the right buttons

Thursday, 10th November, 2016

ON THE BUTTON – From left, Social Buttons designer Jason Grant, Caggara House tenant Valma Winterbottom and Brisbane Housing Company chief executive David Cant.

FAREWELL corkboards and whiteboards, hello giant 3-D art project that allows seniors to plan social outings with the click of three giant buttons.

Social Buttons is a huge hit with residents at Mt Gravatt’s Caggara House, a complex developed by Brisbane Housing Company for seniors who downsized from state government housing a year ago.

When pressed, the cartoonish, over-sized buttons on the wall of the lobby illuminate with scrolling text allowing residents to choose social events from a list of options and nominate a location and preferred day.

The most popular choice becomes that month’s outing and the details are  texted to their phones.

Housing company chief executive David Cant said it was a fun and playful way for neighbours to connect with each other.

“Caggara House brings together seniors from all walks of life and sometimes it can be a bit daunting moving in with dozens of new neighbours,” Mr Cant said.

“We wanted to make it enjoyable and easy for residents to meet and develop friendships and a community.”

Project designer Jason Grant, from Inkahoots, said residents were closely involved with its production via a series of workshops.

“We learned about their rich personal housing histories and talked about their aspirations for their new home,” Mr Grant said.

“The residents said they relished chance interactions when going to collect mail or passing in the hallway, but wanted a way to co-ordinate larger social events.”

Caggara House tenant Michael Fisher appreciated the fact that the buttons are at a handy height. “I use a motorised wheelchair to get around and access them easily.”

The 57-unit, $15 million complex opened in February 2015 and provides housing for 60 seniors. 

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