University of Padova

ElderGames: Project





The Eldergames Project (Development of high therapeutic value IST-based games for monitoring and improving the quality of life of Elderly People) originates from the consideration that aging involves many natural changes for old people, from a physical, cognitive and social point of view. To address negative consequences derived from aging, in recent years ICT has developed several forms of intervention, tools and applications specifically designed for this target. In addition, it has been demonstrated that leisure activities contribute to ameliorate quality of life, engaging senior citizens in a rehabilitative and preventive activities.

The Project’s main aim is to design an interactive tabletop platform able to integrate potentialities derived from both technology and leisure activities. Another purpose of the Eldergames project is the monitoring of the elderly status, with information about his/her progression/regression in cognitive health.

Eldergames table prototype Eldergames table prototype

Data gathered during game sessions can be available to experts and gerontologists responsible for these activities, enabling them to assign tasks and trainings according to individual exigencies. Games on the Eldergames platform can be played both face-to-face and online; a cross-cultural communication system will allow players from different European Countries to easily communicate each other.


WP 0: project management for the definition of 1) a work package for the results’ assessment, 2) of standards and working practices and 3) of norms for the interaction between partners.

WP 1: investigation of main users’ requirements, paying particular attention to elderly needs and characteristics.

WP 2: design and development of the Eldergames prototype, with the definition of several intermediate solutions.

WP 3: ergonomic evaluation.

WP 4: Product development guidelines after ergonomic adaptation and final users trials.

WP 5: technological demonstration act in elderly care centers or in front of an audience of experts interested in the platform.

WP 6: identification of qualitative indicators for the results obtained in the project.

WP 7: Dissemination and Exploitation of the pre-commercial version of Eldergames.

Eldergames table prototype Eldergames table prototype

HTLab is responsible for the ergonomic evaluation of the Eldergames platform. The focus is on possible difficulties faced by users when using it, motivation level and functioning of the monitoring system.

The main issues examined during ergonomic tests are, on one hand, the usability of the prototype and, on the other hand, the degree of effectiveness, efficacy and satisfaction in responding to users’ actions. The evaluation concerns various aspects of the prototypes, such as visualization tools, communication functions and game interface, in order to verify their efficacy in supporting operations undertaken by users.

A first phase of ergonomic evaliatuon consistist in evaluating different mock-ups developed in the first phase of the project; the objective is to compare different interface solutions and to find the most suitable for elderly exigencies. The pre-testing of each prototype furnishes the adequate indications to subsequently develop the Eldergames prototype. Mock-ups are tested in field iterative usability studies, evaluating them with different final users, in order to find which solution matches with elder’s abilities.

After a first version of the Eldergames prototype is built, HTLab continues to support the prototype creation, by conducting continuous ergonomic evaluations, through the validation and the testing of the Eldergames prototype, also involving elderly care/leisure centers. Its main goal is to introduce the interactive platform to users and experts that could potentially use it, to verify their acceptance of the tool and to evaluate the prototype’s usability. HTLab participates to the installation phase, consisting in the presentation of the prototype to groups of elderly specialists and end users. The Htlab’s role is particularly important in the usability evaluation of the Eldergames platform

The methodologies used are:

1) heuristic evaluation, using a checklist developed by HTLab;

2) video recording, with non-invasive, hand-free mobile cameras, and HTLab is responsible for the qualitative analysis of data collected through video records ed in particular breakdown analysis (Spagnolli, Gamberini and Gasparini, 2002), which will highlight the main usability problems faced by users when playing, by describing every interruptions of courses of actions, their evolution and the way they are repaired.

3) cognitive walkthrough. This technique is able to analyze in depth tasks performed by users and to report every kind of problem that could occur. In this case too, video-recordings will enable researchers to analyze task performance, with particular attention to success in task completion, time spent to complete the task, number of errors, number of steps to be taken, number of steps actually taken, time taken to complete each step.


Spagnolli, A., Gamberini, L., Gasperini, D., (2002). Breakdown analysis. Psychnology Journal 1(1), 5-17.

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