2018 Conference Presentation
Objectives: Aging in place is an important policy goal. Physical exercises on a regular basis contribute to maintaining an active lifestyle. Such activities become even more important when people face difficulties in coping with activities of daily living. Smart devices aim to promote exercising and healthy behavior. However, whether such a technology is effective depends on both its usability and whether the target group succeeds in making it a lasting part of their daily routine.
In the context of the AAL-project “CareInMovement” the tablet-based fitness application “CARIMO” was designed for older adults who receive home care services. CARIMO is used together with a fitness bracelet and comprises a daily changing set of exercise videos, activity tracking and overview, a reward system and weekly recommendations on how to include exercise into everyday life. Additionally, entertainment functions such as games and a platform of regional newspapers seek to encourage usage of the tablet and to become familiar with the device.
This study reports on how home care service users assessed the usability of the CARIMO fitness app over time. We focused on practical aspects, e.g. learning to use the system, perceived ease of use, and motivational aspects.
Methods: Building on literature about usability an user experience of smart devices, we developed a practical framework for assessing the usability of CARIMO. The survey was administered via an online survey tool integrated into the fitness app on the CARIMO-tablet. Each participant contributed twice during the 8-month trial period. In total, 80 home-care service users in Salzburg, Austria, and Lombardy, Italy participated in both surveys. The first survey was sent after a 6-week CARIMO system training phase, the second one during the last 4 weeks of the trial. The conceptual and visual design of the survey followed the principles of simplicity and convenience of use to maximize response rate of the non-tech-savvy target group. To identify changes over time, data analyses used both descriptive statistics and bivariate analysis.
(Preliminary) results and conclusion: 87 participants completed the first survey and 80 completed the second survey. Overall, the response rate was 95%. First results indicate stable and positive usability ratings over time and a high level of satisfaction with the fitness function of CARIMO. Although the need for support with using CARIMO decreased over time, there was still a considerably large proportion of respondents (43%) who reported needing help with CARIMO at least sometimes at the end of the trial. The evidence from this study suggests that older home care service users can enjoy and benefit from an appropriately designed fitness application. However, a higher need for training and continuous support needs to be considered when developing apps for this target group in the future.