Design Tools

Explore some of the tools created by Design Age Institute to help you design better for your future self.

Design Tools

Understand how to design better

Whether you are a designer, an individual user or a client developing new products, services, or environments for an ageing population, our unique tools can help you to better understand the ways better design can help all of us to navigate life’s transitions and age happier and healthier.

You can read more about the tools and the role of design in helping us all to age with agency and joy in Design Age Ideas, an interactive report bringing together research, insights and tools from Design Age Institute.

Get in touch with us below to find out more and book a workshop to learn about our tools and how they may be most useful for you:

[email protected]

Tools & Models

Explore and download our unique tools and models for creating, testing and evaluating better design for our future selves.

Age-Inclusive Design Evaluation tool

Age-Inclusive Design Evaluation tool

Design Age Institute

The Age-Inclusive Design Evaluation tool is used to evaluate the design of a product, service or environment to better understand how useful, useable and desirable it is for older people. The  tool focuses on a 3-E approach, defined as:

Empowering: “To make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights, by designing things that are useful.”

Enabling: “To give (someone) the ability or means to do something; by designing things that are usable.”

Enriching: “To engage (someone’s) senses and enhance the quality or their lives by designing things that are desirable.”

The Age Inclusive Design Evaluation tool is explored in Design Age Ideas, with details on how to use the tool below!

Download the tool You can download a PDF copy of the Age-Inclusive Design Evaluation tool here.
How to use this tool Take time to review a design in terms of each of the nine elements of the Age-Inclusive Design Evaluation tool:


  • Is it needed?
  • Can it be accessed?
  • Does it make me feel safe & secure?


  • Is it functionally intuitive?
  • Am I able to physically use it?
  • Is it flexible when in use?


  • Does it reward me?
  • Am I delighted by it?
  • Am I proud to have it?

Weighting: Depending on the nature of the product, service, or environment, the weighting of each of these nine elements may not be equal. It is important to consider how each element impacts or is impacted by the stakeholders and the specific context in order to assess each appropriately.

Why use this tool The purpose of the Age-Inclusive Design Evaluation tool is to help users, designers, and clients thoughtfully evaluate existing and future products, services, and environments to ensure design meets or has met people’s needs and wants and desires. While the importance of each element may change based on the particular use of a design, Design Age Institute believes the 3-E approach can help us design better for a more equitable, inclusive society.
When to use this tool This tool works best when used early and often: to set the brief, inform the process, evaluate competition and support user testing.
Where to use this tool The Age-Inclusive Design Evaluation tool can be used across all design scales and contexts.
Evidence and further reading 


The Hamlyn Cloverleaf

The Hamlyn Cloverleaf

Design Age Institute

The Hamlyn Cloverleaf is a tool that can help designers and individuals to reflect on life’s transitions.

The tool, developed by Design Age Institute and named in honour of Lady Helen Hamlyn, aims to move away from thinking about ageing as purely chronological, instead focusing on the Mental, Physical, Social, and Economic transitions that take place throughout our lives and which may impact our wellbeing, health and independence as we age.

The Hamlyn Cloverleaf is explored in Design Age Ideas, with details on how to use the tool below!

Download the tool   You can download a PDF copy of the Hamlyn Cloverleaf tool here.
How to use this tool  Take time to reflect on each of the four cloverleaf aspects:  Mental, Physical, Social and Economic.

(5 star = feeling best – 1 star = feeling worst)

For individual users:

  • For each cloverleaf aspect, consider how you feel at the moment, and how you may feel in the future.

For designers:

  • Ensure you explain the process and purpose of the cloverleaf tool and confirm the clients/users consent to sharing their feelings before beginning.
  • For each cloverleaf aspect, ask how your clients or users feel at the moment.
  • For each clover leaf aspect, ask your clients or users to consider how they may feel in the future.
Why use this tool  Giving people time to reflect on how they feel about these four wellbeing aspects currently and how they may feel in the future, will help raise their awareness about their needs and wants. This is a good basis for reflecting on our decisions, in particular our design decisions, and how those decisions may impact our wellbeing.
When to use this tool  For individual users:

For individual users, we recommend using the Hamlyn Cloverleaf tool to support planning for your future self.

  • To support proactive planning for your future self
  • To support reactive planning due to unforeseen circumstances

For designers: 

For designers, we recommend using the Hamlyn Cloverleaf tool in the brief-setting stage of a design project (the discovery phase of the double diamond approach or for built environment scale projects during stage 0 of the RIBA Stages of work):

  • To support clients and users to proactively consider current and future scenarios so the design outcome can best meet their needs and wants
Where to use this tool Reflecting on the four cloverleaf considerations may raise sensitive and personal thoughts. We recommend reflecting on the cloverleaf aspects only where you feel safe and willing to do so.
Evidence and further reading 



Design Age Ideas

Design Age Ideas

Dive into our latest report, Design Age Ideas, and get inspired by the role we each have to play in designing better for an ageing population.