Background: Falls are common in older adults and can result in serious injuries. Due to demographic changes, falls and related healthcare costs are likely to increase over the next years. Participation and motivation of older adults in fall prevention measures remain a challenge. The iStoppFalls project developed an information and communication technology (ICT)-based system for older adults to use at home in order to reduce common fall risk factors such as impaired balance and muscle weakness. The system aims at increasing older adults' motivation to participate in ICT-based fall prevention measures. This article reports on usability, user-experience and user-acceptance aspects affecting the use of the iStoppFalls system by older adults.
Methods: In the course of a 16-week international multicenter study, 153 community-dwelling older adults aged 65+ participated in the iStoppFalls randomized controlled trial, of which half used the system in their home to exercise and assess their risk of falling. During the study, 60 participants completed questionnaires regarding the usability, user experience and user acceptance of the iStoppFalls system. Usability was measured with the System Usability Scale (SUS). For user experience the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES) was applied. User acceptance was assessed with the Dynamic Acceptance Model for the Re-evaluation of Technologies (DART). To collect more detailed data on usability, user experience and user acceptance, additional qualitative interviews and observations were conducted with participants.
Results: Participants evaluated the usability of the system with an overall score of 62 (Standard Deviation, SD 15.58) out of 100, which suggests good usability. Most users enjoyed the iStoppFalls games and assessments, as shown by the overall PACES score of 31 (SD 8.03). With a score of 0.87 (SD 0.26), user acceptance results showed that participants accepted the iStoppFalls system for use in their own home. Interview data suggested that certain factors such as motivation, complexity or graphical design were different for gender and age.
Conclusions: The results suggest that the iStoppFalls system has good usability, user experience and user acceptance. It will be important to take these along with factors such as motivation, gender and age into consideration when designing and further developing ICT-based fall prevention systems.
Keywords: Exergames; Fall prevention; Game design; Older adults; Technology acceptance; Usability; User experience.