Celebrate World Usability Day!

usability

What is World Usability Day?

World Usabiliy Day or Make Things Easier Day is an initiative celebrated worldwide annualy on the second Thursday of November, since 2005, this year on November 9. It aims to hilight the contribution of people who research, design, and evaluate the user experience of products and services.

This year’s theme is ” Inclusion through User Experience”.

“Inclusion is a complex condition, which in itself is not easy to harmonize, as individual and social diversity, for example in access to educational, health, work, and technology opportunities.Technology, nowadays is more, more powerful, and economically accessible, it is an undeniable factor of inclusion and growth, a carrier infrastructure of opportunities for participation and competence development in many areas. But if participation is a cultural property, what are the characteristics of the technologies that can best help it?” (Campus Luigi Einaudi – Italy)

 

In celebration of World Usability Day, many organizations hold events to mark the day. COLABORAR takes this opportunityto thank all the participants in usability studies of Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS, because users are essential to these studies. Additionaly, we would like to introduce you to the Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS’ Human-Computer Interaction research team members.

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Ana Vasconcelos

Ana Vasconcelos is an Engineer in Informatics. She has worked in many projects related to User Interface Usability in the area of technology for Ambient Assisted Living for older adults. Her main focus has been mobile health and wellness solutions, adding contributions to successful mobile technology interventions.

Catarina Correia

Catarina Correia is a Communication Designer. She usually works in the visual identity, design of interaction or in projects’ communication. In the most cases, she works with mobile applications and wearable devices.

Eduardo Pereira

Eduardo Pereira is a User Experience and Interaction Designer. He works in projects related to serious games for therapeutic rehabilitation or technologies for Developing Countries.

Elsa Oliveira

Elsa Oliveira is a Communication Designer. She is involved in the creation of user interfaces in projects related to serious games for fall prevention and physical exercise for the elderly. She usually works in many projects’ aspects, since the initial concept to the final communication.

Francisco Nunes

Francisco Nunes is a an Engineer in Informatics. He is the responsible for the Human-Computer Interaction team and thus he supports researchers in many projects. His main research interest is especially in the field of Self-care technologies and Ambient Assisted Living for older adults.  He is also a regular international conference speaker.

Jorge Ribeiro

Jorge Ribeiro is an Interaction Designer. He has been involved in studies about user research and experience design targeted older adults, being therefore in constant contact with older adults from the user network COLABORAR.

Paulo Silva

Paulo Silva is a Mechanical Engineer. He works in the development of a prototype for the automatic detection of Malaria, ensuring its mechanical viability, and focus on usability studies with the aim of ensuring a universal use of the prototype. In addition to the product development focus, his interest areas are: innovation, CAD modelation and 3D printing.

Ricardo Peixoto

Ricardo Peixoto is a Mechanical Engineer and an Industrial Designer. He works with 3D object prototyping for various contexts and has a special interest in products designed to solve usability problems in the fine motor skills and manual dexterity of the elderly.

Sílvia Rêgo

Sílvia Rêgo is a Nurse and she is the main responsible of the user network COLABORAR. She coordinates tests with users, organizing test sessions, recruiting participants and sheduling tests. She is also involved in issues related to organizational procedures of usabiliy and validation tests, ethics in research and submisson of studies to ethics committees.

DctivPR web application for visualization of user’s physical activity information tested

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Smart Companion, the android customization for smartphones targeting older adults, enables the collection of data related to physical activity. In order to provide an easy and effective way to analyze the data collected, a web application was developed.

Then, tests with possible end-users was carried out so to verify that the user easily catches relevant information from the application. Participants answered to a questionnaire about the habits of the predefined Smart Companion users.

This work was carried out in the scope of the master thesis entitled “DActivPR – Daily Activity Pattern Recognition Tool“.

Tests for Cordon Gris

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A new web app for CordonGris project was tested by Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS‘ researchers with the participation of COLABORAR volunteers.

The new app for seniors enables the creation of a profile for each user, by introducing data such as Anthropometric data, Physical activity, Food preferences and restrictions. Then, the app provides a personalized reccomendation meal plan for each user, according to the information introduced.The system was built with senior friendly interfaces, so that users can easily use it.

Participants gave excellent feedback about the app, since they consider it may assist older adults so to they maintain a healthy and independent life.

Celebrating World Food Day with Cordon Gris tests

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Here, the World Usability Food Day was celebrated with tests to the prototype of the Cordon Gris application. The 16th October was spent at a Living Center for Seniors in Porto, testing the new web application that enables seniors to have access to meal plans according to their preferences and restrictions.

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Master thesis presentation in the area of Social Education

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In the scope of DEMind, Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS supported a Master’s thesis from the Master Course in Community Intervention – Area of Specialization: Active Ageing, of Escola Superior de Educação de Paula Frassinetti, entitled “Active aging: the support of information and communication technologies and social support networks”. Among Fraunhofer‘s projects, the Exergames was selected, since it is a platform of physical exercise games for older adults, enabling them to stay active, preventing their risk of fall.

Troughout COLABORAR, the ExerGames platform was integrated in the weekly plan of a day-care centre in Porto. Participant observations of the activities enabled the student to collect information regarding the implementation of a new activity for seniors with Information and Communication Solutions. Then, the acceptance of the technology was assessed, as well as its usability and user satisfaction.

Finally, the student presented her work within her Master’s thesis for Fraunhofer‘s researchers. Her study is very interesting because it shows the perspective of the Social Education about the ExerGames in activities for older adults.

Older adults experiences with ExerGames: case study for two theses

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We have received excellent feedback from users regarding ExerGames. These games are being available for users from a day-care centre in Porto, partner institutional in the scope of COLABORAR. Activities with the application were included in the weekly activities planning of the centre.

A doctoral degree student and a master degree student have been accompanying the process of introducing a new activity for seniors based on Information and Communication Solutions. Non-participant observations were carried out troughout several weeks, as well as questionnaires for initial and final assessment. The information collected will enable the doctoral student to develop a dissertation about the aspects involved in customer experiences of Ambient Assisted Living Technologies and the master student the role of Information and Communication Solutions in active ageing.

Thank you to participants who took this challenge from COLABORAR!

Fraunhofer is testing sensors for eating and drinking activities detection

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Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS’ researchers developed a new tool that enables the automatic detection and recognition of eating and drinking activities. The aim of this research, within the project DEMSmartMoves, is recognizing the activity pattern of each user regarding meal intake and then detect these activities. In the case the user is missing out on a meal, the system should be able to automatically send reminders to its user. A smartphone and a wearable device to be used in the wrist comprise the system, which might be very useful for older adults, who frequently miss out meals, due to forgiveness, lack of appetite or being unable to cook. This situation usually results in nutrition deficits in the old age.

After an initial set of tests with users  at a day care centre, researchers are testing again the devices with older adults. Volunteers from the user network COLABORAR took this challenge, using the sensor in the wrist for 5 hours; the test began in the morning and finished in the afternoon. Between this period, participants performed their daily activities at the centre, such as playing board games, talking, walking around and also eating lunch meal and drinking.

COLABORAR volunteers enjoyed being part of this investigation and hope that in the future, this technology will help other seniors.

New FallSensing game tested with older adults

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On July 11th Fraunhofer AICOS hosted a group of older adults from a day-care center from Abiúl, near Pombal, in the center region of Portugal. Researchers from the FallSensing project were holding some tests for the new physical exercise game and COLABORAR invited Fundação Dr. José Lourenço Júnior to try out the game.

The activities at Fraunhofer included a visit to our facilities. They saw our work areas, with many computers.  Then they went to the Software Lab, the laboratory in which we usually perform tests with users. The view from the office delighted our guests, since we have open spaces with large windows and we can see some universities and research centers, as well as one of the biggest Portuguese hospitals.

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The new FallSensing game is an easy, fun, physical game for fall prevention and is suited to be played by groups of three. The exercises required to play the game are based on a certified fall prevention program. The seniors from the day-care center were divided into groups to play the game. We can tell, by the laughs, that our guests enjoyed the game very much. This is a fun activity for the elderly! Furthermore, researchers tested the platform that aims to implement fall prevention programs in individuals aged 50 or older. The well known Fraunhofer‘s cognitive games for tablets named “Cogniplay” were available for seniors, over tea, juice and some biscuits.

We are happy to be able to receive at Fraunhofer AICOS real end users giving important inputs to the study. And we are glad to provide older adults from Abiúl a different and happy day.

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Master theses’ presentation 2017

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The master students who  choose to develop their theses at Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS this year, have just presented their work.

Fraunhofer organized a workshop in which each student made a presentation about the work carried out within the theme of the master thesis. Then, students discussed the work with researchers. Later, Fraunhofer welcomed students in a demonstration session. The prototypes are ready and students proudly showed the solutions they developed during the semestre, along with a flyer for each project.

COLABORAR congratulates all students and is happy to see them succeed in constructing solutions for a better future.

Playing Exergames: the perspective from the users

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These past weeks we went to the centre in order to collect information about the use of the ExerGames. Participants in the tests answered to questionnaires about their experience with the games, their opinions and preferences.

Along with the observations carried out, these information is very valuable from the point of view of a researcher, as it will enable us to understand the aspects older adults like the most about ExerGames: the user interface, doing exercise, a good hobby, amongst others. Researchers want to know if users think the system is easy to use and if they are aware of the benefits of doing exercise for fall prevention.

A master thesis is being developed to study these aspects and evaluate the impact of information and communication technologies on older adults´well-being, contributing, therefore, to seniors’ autonomy.

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