This month we celebrate the 8th anniversary of COLABORAR, marking the 8th birthday of COLABORAR as a user network for gathering researchers and users.

Celebrating 8 years of COLABORAR makes us inevitably think back to early November 2011, when we were getting ready to initiate the project in Porto. We did the preparation work regarding administrative procedures to comply with the research regulations and good practices. Practicalities involving people visits, such as transportation, space and timing to fit users were also organized. Local social organizations were searched and approached to take part in an innovative project that would promote the contact of tech researchers with older adults. The aim was collect data about habits or needs, explore ideas and evaluate prototypes with representative users.

Recruiting older adults, mostly vulnerable to digital exclusion or with low confidence in using technology, was a challenge. However, they were willing to listen to our research proposal and then decided to take part. Techy users joined the network as smartphones and tablets were increasingly available. The demands of studies and their related inclusion criteria driven us to establish more partnerships. The online application form enabled geographically distant institutions to join the network. This resulted in a bank of 1100 participants.

COLABORAR has succeeded beyond our expectations. We will take this moment to celebrate the user network COLABORAR and all we have achieved. On behalf of the entire team, thank you to everyone who has joined us over the past 8 years. You helped us doing the following:

Understanding people to create technology.