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Technological innovations and users requirements: how to fill the gap? An enduser organisation perspective.
Technological innovations and users requirements: how to fill the gap? An enduser organisation perspective.
Technological innovations and users requirements: how to fill the gap? An enduser organisation perspective.
Technological innovations and users requirements: how to fill the gap? An enduser organisation perspective.
Technological innovations and users requirements: how to fill the gap? An enduser organisation perspective.
Technological innovations and users requirements: how to fill the gap? An enduser organisation perspective.
Technological innovations and users requirements: how to fill the gap? An enduser organisation perspective.
Technological innovations and users requirements: how to fill the gap? An enduser organisation perspective.
Technological innovations and users requirements: how to fill the gap? An enduser organisation perspective.
Technological innovations and users requirements: how to fill the gap? An enduser organisation perspective.
Technological innovations and users requirements: how to fill the gap? An enduser organisation perspective.
Technological innovations and users requirements: how to fill the gap? An enduser organisation perspective.
Technological innovations and users requirements: how to fill the gap? An enduser organisation perspective.
Technological innovations and users requirements: how to fill the gap? An enduser organisation perspective.
Technological innovations and users requirements: how to fill the gap? An enduser organisation perspective.
Technological innovations and users requirements: how to fill the gap? An enduser organisation perspective.
Technological innovations and users requirements: how to fill the gap? An enduser organisation perspective.
Technological innovations and users requirements: how to fill the gap? An enduser organisation perspective.
Technological innovations and users requirements: how to fill the gap? An enduser organisation perspective.
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Technological innovations and users requirements: how to fill the gap? An enduser organisation perspective.

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Francesca Cesaroni, COOSS Marche Onlus

Francesca Cesaroni, COOSS Marche Onlus

Published in: Technology
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  • 1. AEGIS 1° International Conference TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION AND USER REQUIREMENTS: HOW TO FILL THE GAP? AN END-USER ORGANISATION PERSPECTIVE Speaker: F. Cesaroni Autors: F. Cesaroni; M. Antomarini; E. Piangerelli, F. Scocchera; C. Sdogati AEGIS 1° International Conference Seville, 7/8 October 2010
  • 2. Purpose of this presentation To highlight problematic areas end-user organisations meet when taking part to AT research projects devoted to older and disabled persons. AEGIS 1° International Conference Seville, 7/8 October 2010
  • 3. Two contrasting approaches contribute to broaden the cultural gap between engineers/technicians and social scientists: the “Technological push” urges producers to achieve important technical results in a limited period of time; The“Demand-pull” advocates the users centrality and the priority of their requirements. AEGIS 1° International Conference Seville, 7/8 October 2010
  • 4. End-user organisation roles  user needs analysis  definition of scenarios of use  field trials  assessment of the users satisfaction and the system usability and acceptability  support to the technical partners during the development, to ensure the match between the functional specifications and the user requirements, and to guarantee the users centrality in the design process. AEGIS 1° International Conference Seville, 7/8 October 2010
  • 5. COOSS experience in 4 different EU research projects is quickly illustrated, with the focus on the users’ perspective. AEGIS 1° International Conference Seville, 7/8 October 2010
  • 6. THE USER PROJECT - TIDE programme It proposed a practical handbook and a handy guidance on:  how to gather and analyse the user needs  how to turn them into functional specifications  how to ensure the user centrality in the design process. Concepts as “usability”, “user-centred design”, “acceptability”, “user requirements” started to enter into the authors’ practice since then. AEGIS 1° International Conference Seville, 7/8 October 2010
  • 7. THE VISIOBOARD PROJECT – (5FP): a positive example It developed a PC to be accessed through the eyes movement. Cameras incorporated in the PC frame captured the eye position, calibrating the system accordingly. To activate an application, the user only had to stare at the desired icon in the screen. The project potential was enormous, giving people with no other residual abilities than their eyes movement an opportunity to communicate, to read and write, and to activate common home applications (turn-on and off the TV, the radio, start the heater, call for help, etc...). AEGIS 1° International Conference Seville, 7/8 October 2010
  • 8. THE VISIOBOARD PROJECT Among the volunteers testing the system, there was a boy on a wheelchair. Unforeseen involuntary spasms at his legs violently moved the table where the system was positioned, making the delicate system get stuck. It revealed to be a common feature on subjects suffering from his syndrome; the problem was immediately faced and easily solved with a mechanic arm supporting the screen, demonstrating attention and compliance with the user requirements. AEGIS 1° International Conference Seville, 7/8 October 2010
  • 9. THE CAALYX PROJECT (6FP) – a challenging experience It proposed a bracelet for elderly people, constantly monitoring their vital signs and detecting eventual falls in real time. During the user-needs analysis, the system components, its functionality and advantages were explained to real users through illustrations, being a system mock-up missing. During the development, the bracelet revealed inappropriate, being its contact with the human body too loose. An elastic belt was proposed instead, as its adhesion to the body ensured a reliable communication of data. It was tested with real users, and it resulted very successful under a technical perspective. AEGIS 1° International Conference Seville, 7/8 October 2010
  • 10. Some mismatches between the users requirements and the technical achievements. During the user needs analysis, elderly had appreciated the idea of a bracelet, as it was discrete and not stigmatising, easy to wear and use, self-calibrating and requiring no complicated intervention on their part. But: The elastic belt substituted the expected bracelet, requiring fingers strength and dexterity to fasten and unfasten it; Three electrodes had to be fixed in specific areas of the body, with wires forming a bulky knot difficult to be hidden under the dresses; A mobile phone with small buttons and tiny characters on the screen had to be daily calibrated by the users themselves. AEGIS 1° International Conference Seville, 7/8 October 2010
  • 11. To minimise the users’ difficulties, daily assistance was guaranteed to help users to wear, calibrate and remove the system. Users sometimes asked to be “released” earlier than the 5 hours a day fixed by the protocol, because annoyed by the electrodes, or by the belt hindering a comfortable afternoon rest, or simply because they weren’t in the proper mood to test the system that day. These “tantrums” obviously complicated the validation process, but highlighted an uneasiness worth to be taken into account to make the prototype a marketable product. AEGIS 1° International Conference Seville, 7/8 October 2010
  • 12. THE CONFIDENCE PROJECT (7FP) – an ongoing experience It is developing a system conceived to prevent falls by the detection of anomalous behaviours on the users’ part. The system consists of small body tags, sensors to be fixed on the home furniture, a base station and a portable device acting as user interface. Wireless communication among the devices facilitates the users’ movements while monitored by the system. Technical complications imposed the revision of the initial conception, and a wire-based communication system is now under development. AEGIS 1° International Conference Seville, 7/8 October 2010
  • 13. THE CONFIDENCE PROJECT 40 users were selected for the system testing, recruited according to well defined criteria to guarantee the target homogeneity. The unexpected intrusiveness of the new system may cause some withdrawals. The solutions can be:  to recruit a smaller group of “homogeneous” users  to maintain the number of 40 users, widening the recruitment criteria. The risk is that a “heterogeneous” group might distort the scientific meaningfulness in the comparison of data. AEGIS 1° International Conference Seville, 7/8 October 2010
  • 14. THE CONFIDENCE PROJECT Matching rigorous scientific methods with the users’ habits and moods is a frequent problem a user organisation experiences. Validation protocols and evaluation tests rely on methodological approaches implying schematisations and objective measurements, while individuals are hardly adaptable to predefined schemes. Elderly persons are often intimidated by things they don’t know; decency and personal dignity often lead them to refuse to test a device, or to interrupt its use when they feel inadequate and unable to manage. Human dignity is an aspect requiring proper consideration when a validation plan is drafted, as it can highly affect its process. AEGIS 1° International Conference Seville, 7/8 October 2010
  • 15. Hints for discussion Technology develops very quickly, and very quicly becomes obsolete. But elderly people attitude doesn’t change so quickly as technology does. Their resistance to technological solutions is sometimes due to a prejudicial refusal of a “machine” as assistive support, still preferring the human-based care. AEGIS 1° International Conference Seville, 7/8 October 2010
  • 16. Hints for discussion If technical achievements are the main goals in AT solutions, their usability and acceptability, as well as the related ethical issues, should be equally considered. After 15 years of experience, the feeling is that the “user centred design” approach still finds it difficult to fully impose itself. AEGIS 1° International Conference Seville, 7/8 October 2010
  • 17. Hints for discussion There is a “cultural” problem at the basis of this: the high- education models concentrate in their specific disciplines, with no attention to transversal competencies. When professionals with different backgrounds work together, they often tend to consider their field of expertise prevailing on the others in terms of importance. This attitude hinders dialogue, with detrimental effects on the design process. AEGIS 1° International Conference Seville, 7/8 October 2010
  • 18. Hints for discussion Demographists and statesmen unanimously indicate the AT industry for older and disabled people the most promising market for the next 30 years. Promoting interdisciplinary and positive communication can reveal a first step to reduce the gap between engineers/developers and social scientists. AEGIS 1° International Conference Seville, 7/8 October 2010
  • 19. Thanks for your attention AEGIS 1° International Conference Seville, 7/8 October 2010

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