Empowering Older Adults and Impacting Society Through Thoughtful Design: A Conversation Between Founders Part 1

Empowering Older Adults and Impacting Society Through Thoughtful Design: A Conversation Between Founders Part 1

Empowering Older Adults and Impacting Society Through Thoughtful Design: A Conversation Between Founders Part 1

Empowering Older Adults and Impacting Society Through Thoughtful Design: 

A Conversation Between Founders - Part 1


In the realm of technological advancement, youth often takes center stage. Yet, as technology intertwines more with our daily lives, the risk of excluding older generations from its benefits looms large. At VivaValet, we see ourselves as pioneers, determined to bridge this gap and empower older adults through thoughtful design. Partnering with Shaza Hakim, founder of Stampede—a company specializing in meaningful UX/UI design—has been an enlightening journey over the past two years. Our collaboration has not only impacted the way Stampede approaches design for older adults but has also shed light on the broader societal oversight in considering the experiences of our elders. Here is a multi-part series that highlights some key insights from our collaboration over the past few years. Please join the conversation and you can always watch the full video on ..

Challenging the Status Quo

Shaza to Mariam: "What did we get so wrong about aging? What causes the psychological toll on older adults due to technological exclusion, and how does VivaValet set out to change that?”

Mariam: “One of the major issues is that as people age, they often feel unheard and inconsequential. Society tends to favor those in their prime, contributing the most work and balancing various aspects of life. This marginalization leads to older adults being overlooked and excluded from technological advancements. At VivaValet, we aim to change this by amplifying their voices and providing tools that help them navigate the digital world with confidence. No assumptions—just genuine, respectful engagement.”

Our Older Adults

Mariam to Shaza: “Involving seniors throughout the development process is part of VivaValet's ethos. Can you elaborate on some of the key challenges seniors mentioned facing technology that were new to you? And how do you specifically address those challenges?”

Shaza: “Working closely with seniors revealed many challenges we hadn't fully considered. One significant issue is the intuitive design. What seems intuitive to younger users can be incredibly confusing for older adults. For example, the abundance of options and features can overwhelm them, perpetuating a lack of confidence. We addressed these challenges by simplifying interfaces, focusing on clarity and ease of use, and continually seeking feedback from our senior users to iterate on our designs.”

First Collaboration

Mariam to Shaza: “As a first-timer developing a technology app, my co-founder and I really jumped into the deep end of the design accessibility pool. What were your initial thoughts when you met us and heard our idea, vision, and approach for VivaValet?”

Shaza: “What struck me was the clarity and respect embedded in VivaValet's vision. You approached this project with great reverence for your users, emphasizing non-predatory practices and involving them in the design process. This resonated deeply with our values at Stampede. The collaborative experience has been enriching, and it’s been incredible to see how bringing our expertise together has created more inclusive and empowering solutions for older adults.”

Insights and Anecdotes

Mariam: “You know, I take care of my older husband who's almost 93. Being 46 years younger, I have a unique perspective living alongside the older experience. Observing how others interact with him and how he engages with the world has been eye-opening. For instance, technology like the Nokia Communicator used to be elite, but now newer tech overwhelms him. We often don't consider the older adult's actual experience with technology because we're preoccupied with our own lives and needs. This oversight extends to the design community, where little attention is paid to what aging really feels like.”

Shaza: “One of the most surprising challenges I discovered was the isolating experience for older adults. Initially, we thought the problem lay in making intuitive interfaces. However, intuition varies widely across age groups. Moreover, we unintentionally perpetuate a lack of confidence in older adults by giving them too many options and features. Working with VivaValet has taught us the importance of simplicity, clarity, and continual user feedback.”

Moving Forward

As we carry forward this collaborative journey, the goal remains clear: to harness technology in ways that genuinely empower even the oldest members of our society. We must continue to challenge the status quo and ensure that our designs are inclusive and respectful of all ages. By amplifying the voices of older adults and involving them in the development process, we can create technology that serves everyone.

This journey is not just about building better products; it's about fostering respect, empathy, and understanding across generations. Together, we can ensure that as we age, we remain connected, capable, and confident in a rapidly evolving world.

Let’s keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, designing with purpose, and always keeping the voices of our elders at the forefront.


In sharing our journey and insights, we hope to inspire more businesses and design teams to prioritize inclusivity and thoughtful design. To those embarking on this path, remember that we all play a role in shaping a future where technology empowers every generation.

If you’re as passionate about creating inclusive technology as we are, we invite you to join us. Let's work together to make a meaningful impact.



Mariam Parineh

Founder & Older Life  Expert