Designing Tangibles to Support Emotion Logging for Older Adults: Development and Usability Study (Preprint)


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BACKGROUND The global population is aging, leading to shifts in health care needs. In addition to developing technology to support physical health, there is an increasing recognition of the need to consider how technology can support emotional health. This raises the question of how to design devices that older adults can interact with to log their emotions. OBJECTIVE We designed and developed 2 novel tangible devices, inspired by existing paper-based scales of emotions. The findings from a field trial of these devices with older adults are reported. METHODS Using interviews, field deployment, and fixed logging tasks, we assessed the developed devices. RESULTS Our results demonstrate that the tangible devices provided data comparable with standardized psychological scales of emotion. The participants developed their own patterns of use around the devices, and their experience of using the devices uncovered a variety of design considerations. We discuss the difficulty of customizing devices for specific user needs while logging data comparable to psychological scales of emotion. We also highlight the value of reflecting on sparse emotional data. CONCLUSIONS Our work demonstrates the potential for tangible emotional logging devices. It also supports further research on whether such devices can support the emotional health of older adults by encouraging reflection of their emotional state.
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