Join-In Users

The main target group of Join-In are 70-85 years old people with a wish for social contact and activities, but also older individuals who have little computer knowledge and want to get acquainted with computing in a safe surrounding. They can use it for socialising and for keeping in contact with their friends of families. Seniors who know the importance of regular exercises can use the extensible social and cognitive (exer-)gaming platform of Join-In for maintaining their well-being and for preventing illnesses. A moderator modus allows the presence of a person to help connect the seniors and to offer special services like life exercises. Especially this feature allows senior centres and other organisations easy access to their clientele.

When developing such a network, it is very important to understand the users’ way of life and their needs and wishes. Therefore, senior citizens in Germany, Hungary, Ireland and Norway were involved in the project from the start. The participants were recruited from senior clubs, patient organisations, church associations, and from voluntary neighbourhood support groups. All of these persons have a common interest: staying healthy and self-sufficient.

Scenarios, persona descriptions and literature reviews helped us to gather initial information on the users’ interests. Using a mixed methods approach (focus groups, round table discussions and questionnaires) the users’ expectations, but also fears and anxieties were assessed. Users ensured that the social network requires only minimum criterion in health such as average visual, mental and a minimum senso-motoric ability.

Pilot studies were performed in the partner countries with 136 persons most of them with little computer experience and older than 80 years. It showed that the users liked the Join-In outcomes once they had learned how to handle the computer. Join-In and its elements were found to be well suited for the targeted user group. The elderly individuals thought it helped socialising, found it motivating for exercising and that it was fun to use.

More information can be found in the D2.1 Report on User Requirement Analysis, in D1.3 Final Report and at Blog 8. “User requirements of the seniors for exergames” and Blog 13 “Piloting test results"