The Kith&Kin project aims to contribute to the AAL call challenge to support older adults to live actively, stay in charge of their own lives and to participate in society in the way they want.
Objective 1 – meeting identified user wishes and needs: The idea for this project builds on identified wishes and needs of older adults as well as a developed design proposal which was generated within the AAL research project RelaxedCare. The design proposal was evaluated during an informal usability test with older adults and got rated very high by the test persons but the implementation of the idea was not in the scope of the project. Nevertheless the feedback from test persons that the product idea is easy to understand, easy to handle and fun to use, possibly for several generations of a family, encouraged us to work further on this idea.
Objective 2 – social inclusion and connectedness: The test results proved that the idea offers a potent approach to meet the need for connectedness and enables older adults to participate in social life which turns out to be crucial for personal satisfaction, wellbeing and their quality of life. The project Kith&Kin targets the challenge to raise the motivation to use and integrate ICT-based products in everyday life routines of older adults to enable them to participate actively in social life and through this foster the communication and interaction with their families and friends.
Objective 3 – translation of ICT technology to user’s capabilities: Following a “design for all” approach the project aims to generate a high acceptance rate by the end users (older adults living alone and their families) by developing a product which builds on well-known behaviour patterns in context of technology handling (writing hand-written messages or using tangible objects for the gaming function), in order to create a product which is easy to understand and use. Kith&Kin addresses the described key priorities of the call by integrating already existing technologies and developing additionally new technologies to achieve a high potential to be commercialized after the project. It aims at improving the capacity of older adults living an active life and to participate in social life. Bearing in mind that the requirements of an older adult might change over the years of using the Kith&Kin for the connection to their families and friends to the functions of managing their daily medication or a connection to social service centres, the project offers various software modules which the user may activate according to personal wishes and needs.
Objective 4 – User centred design: The Kith&Kin project follows a strong user-centred design as well as a participatory design approach and will profoundly involve users (older adults 70+ living alone in far distance of their family members/friends) in the requirements analysis (WP2), user experience design (WP3), the usability engineering and the evaluation tasks (WP7) of the project.
Senior Expert Advisor
Active & Assisted Living
AIT Austrian Institute of Technology
Center for Health & Bioresources