Pilot Studies

In spring 2016, long-term field studies with potential users of GeTVivid have been conducted in Vienna, Nürnberg, and Basel. Overall, 35 older adults that were interested in the GeTVivid platform participated in the 10-week field trial, wherein in the first week of the study conduction, the participants were equipped with a tablet, a set-top box and the GeTVivid platform, running on their TV sets in their homes. The main goal of these field studies was, to investigate how the participants experience the platform over a longer period of time and to test the technical feasibility of the solution in a real, long-term setting.

Christiane Moser and Bernhard Feldbacher (both from the University of Salzburg), therefore, visited all participants in the three cities in their homes to install the technical equipment and to conduct collective workshops at each site to introduce the participants to the platform and how they can use it. During their stay, Christiane and Bernhard conducted interviews and handed out a diary to the participants. They were asked to fill out the diary during the study to document their experiences with the platform while using it at home, i.e., documenting good/valuable experiences, but also issues that came up while interacting with the platform. The diary also included some questionnaires (e.g., on accessibility, trust, curiosity) that had to be filled out after specific weeks during the field studies. Then, the actual field study, where participants had to use the platform for 8 weeks has started. During this time, one community manager (i.e., a representative from the EUOs) at each city was responsible to support the participants during this period in, for example, building up a community, providing them triggers where they could provide/take support to/from other users, or supporting them when technical issues occurred. After these 8 weeks, Katja Neureiter and Alina Krischkowsky (both from the University of Salzburg), came back to the participants homes to de-install the technical setup and to conduct interviews to investigate how the participants have experienced the usage of the GeTVivid platform over time. Throughout a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the gathered data (i.e., from the pre-interviews, the field trials, and the post-interviews), we came up with a vast variety of results whereby the most central ones are outlined in the following.

First of all, and maybe most importantly, the participants in general have articulated to highly value the idea of GeTVivid. They like the idea of bringing like-minded people together to support each other on a frequent basis. They really like the possibility for social exchange on the platform and to get in contact with unknown people to make potentially new friends with. With our gathered data, we were confirmed in our perspective that the community size and the distance between community members, is critical for the success of the platform. Participants’ emphasized that community members should be arranged in local clusters to allow for rather easy and feasible support-exchange. Also, they articulated the need for a certain community size (i.e., critical mass) to allow for traffic on the platform and to assure that the users’ interests for support-exchange and interests can be met on the platform. Furthermore, and this is a highly important lessons-learned from the study is that community managers are highly important to build up and facilitate a living, engaging, and sustaining community on GeTVivid. They are central anchor points for the users to relate to and ask questions if needed.

Overall the results of the pilot study showed a significant improvement of the GeTVivid platform throughout the project through the iterative involvement of users and experts. Developing one interface that can be used on a TV and mobile device at the same way was very challenging, but in the end we succeeded. However, the handling of a new/additional set-top box to access the GeTVivid platform caused unforeseeable difficulties and unfortunately resulted in partial rejection of using the platform on the TV in the pilot studies. Whereas, the mobile interface on the tablet and its intuitive handling were more accepted than expected in the beginning of the project, which might be due to the already high penetration of older tablet users nowadays. Throughout the pilot studies we learned that we are on a good way to achieve our major goal (i.e., building up an an online peer-to-peer exchange platform to empower older adults with mild impairments to benefit from receiving support for daily activities and reciprocally offering support to others), but getting access to the right target group is challenging, in order to support informal care practices by mediating them online (i.e., successfully negotiating and establishing a collaboration). We still consider older adults as active and equal partners in support exchange and the GeTVivid platform is one step in the right direction to support them.

Design Workshops with End Users

In June and July the three end user organisations carried out design workshops in order to evaluate our first design sketches. Therefore, the first video prototpye was used in order to illustrate the interaction between the TV and tablet, next to a klickable prototype for the tablet.

EURAG Austria carried out two design workshops : one in the countryside with 2 seniors and one in the EURAG office with 4 people. All in all people were interested in what the system could provide and how helpful it would be in later life –  even if the 2 seniors living in the countryside were worrying about a lack of availability of services in their region. But all of them really liked the easy way how to use the system on the tablet which was self-explaining for them. A few suggestions were made to improve the design and most participants  are very curious how the process of the development of the platform is going on and want to be furthermore included in the project.

 

CURAVIVA carried out two design workshops in care homes in Switzerland. In each care home always the same 5-6 persons participate in the workshops. So they were curious to see the progress of the platform. The video gave them a good overview over what is possible and how to handle the tablet. The participants are all over 80 years old and not really familiar with the use of tablets. But with a little help they could handle it and were very interested to click from page to page. They look forward to use the “real” platform and to place orders and offers.

VMKN also organized a workshop with 5 participants aged between 68 and 79 years. In principle the platform was noticed as very easy in handling. The user interface was simple and operated intuitively. But they missed an alert-button in case of abuse of the platform or if somebody is in distress. They required as well getting in contact with individual persons, like a messaging system. After that a lively discussion about data security and costs of the system sparked. There is a concern of abuse of the platform. The seniors are anxious to be spied out by a third party and they are worried about their personal safety. They desire an administrator who controls saves the platform and its users. The seniors also mentioned many doubts about the costs of the system. They asked about the financing of the platform. The seniors fear that they could not afford the system because of high costs and low income. But in principle the development of the platform is welcome and the seniors are very interested in the progress of the project.

“Going in the Field” – Interviews, Observations and Workshops with End Users

During three weeks in October 2013 Alina Krischkowsky, a researcher from the ICT&S Center (University of Salzburg), visited the end user organizations in Switzerland, Germany and Austria to conduct interviews, observations and workshops on-site with older adults.

In order to gain a basic understanding how activities of daily living of our target group are organized, Alina went to CURAVIVA Verband Heime und Institutionen from Switzerland (14.10.13-18.10.13), Verein für Menschen mit Körperbehinderung Nürnberg e.V. from Germany (21.10.13-25.10.13) and to EURAG from Austria (28.10.13-31.10.13). Overall 14 interviews and observations with potential end users were conducted within their residential homes to investigate the target groups’ needs. The participants have been recruited by the end user organizations.

At the end of each week a workshop was organized consisting of all participants that took part in the interviews and observations within the respective week. The goal of these workshops was, to collaboratively reflect upon the gathered insights during the week and to discuss upon potential challenges and opportunities for the GeTVivid Project.

Within the three weeks, very valuable conversations and discussions together with our target group were held that have led to important insights concerning older adults necessities of daily living, how they organize their activities of daily living and their respective needs in terms of support from informal caregivers but also what kind of support they can provide to others.

Thanks to the end user organizations for the smooth organization on-site and special thanks go to all participants that were involved within the study.