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Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences
Master in Universal Design of ICT
This project describes the design and development process for a social and cognitive mobile game and user evaluation in terms of well-being. The objective is to explore underlying connections between game playing and improvement in well-being. A series of literature reviews demonstrates the probability of conducting a study of this nature from several aspects including acceptance of IT products and services among elderly adults, current health-related technology, age-related issues and user interface design principles for the elderly. Following guidelines defined by a user-centred design methodology, the study was conducted in three phases: (1) user requirement study (2) game design and prototype development and (3) final evaluation. In the first phase, Gobang was voted as the target game and participants were invited to examine usability issues. Combined with a heuristic evaluation and semi-structured interviews, preliminary design requirements were gradually specified for the second phase. Next, a prototype was designed and developed in iterations. Each iteration comprised three components: (1) reconsideration of design requirements (2) development of enhanced prototype and (3) user evaluation. Over six iterations, most usability and accessibility issues were resolved and functionality integrated. A final evaluation was conducted in two parts. First, a heuristic evaluation was implemented to examine the game’s theoretical performance in terms of usability and accessibility. Second, six evaluators (including new participants) were required to play the game throughout a three-week evaluation period. A combined WHO-5 index test and semi-structured interview were performed to assess participants’ farewell condition before and after the evaluation period. Interviews were conducted on a weekly basis to observe differences in daily activities relevant to game playing and social interaction. The results of the final evaluation indicate that participants experienced an enhanced sense of well-being after the three-week play period. A promoted feeling was derived from the following aspects: new entertainment activity, additional pleasure and relaxation, strengthened interpersonal relationships and extended social networks scale. In sum, elderly participants were considerably satisfied with their game playing experiences and positively affected in terms of well-being and quality of life.
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