3 ABSTRACT Many senior citizens and some older adults remain uncomfortable computer users. It was brought to our attention during a meeting with the American Association of Retired Persons, or the AARP, that it would be possible to develop a simple computer game that could help increase these people s proficiency on the computer. The software developed is a trivia game which requires users to complete many simple tasks on the computer, such as using a search engine or navigating a website. In addition to teaching users some basic computer functionality, tasks are also aimed to keep users mentally engaged and physically active since after retirement, people normally become more sedentary. Upon completing the entirety of these tasks, the users receive a prize identified by the AARP, which will be available for pickup at the user s local AARP branch. We hope that our game will give older people an incentive to learn to become proficient computer users as well as help them remain mentally and physically active. CREDITS David Horowitz - Helped write user needs document - Tested two subjects for usability testing - Wrote first design document - Wrote project proposal - Reviewed majority of scholarly research articles - Wrote system requirements document - Developed the front-end that was actually used in final product - Designed the database schema for the back-end Tracy Lin - Wrote introduction and first two tasks for the user needs document - Designed first prototype for game - Wrote post test for task list & questionnaire document - Tested two subjects for usability testing - Wrote presentation of design and conclusions sections of final paper - Developed low-fidelity prototype - Developed high-fidelity prototype for usability testing - Developed the team website Jeff Markey - Developed online survey - Wrote usability testing process and questions - Functioned as primary contact with the AARP and sent bi-weekly updates to the AARP - Designed second prototype for game - Wrote developmental process, appendix A and B sections of final paper - Tested two subjects for usability testing - Designed Graphical Layout for Final Prototype 1
4 INTRODUCTION Problem During a meeting with Mike Lee of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) it was brought to our attention that many senior citizens and some older adults face significant barriers both towards becoming comfortable using computers and staying mentally and physically active. Mr. Lee challenged us to come up with a piece of software that would encourage older adults to overcome these issues. Immediately, we realized it was going to be difficult to convince users to play a game which tried to persuade them to change their lifestyle. Therefore, during the planning stages of the development process, we focused on thinking of methods of convincing users to play the entire game. Ultimately, we concluded that in addition to a fun game we needed to promise the user a significant reward upon completion. Therefore at its core, the AARPG is a persuasive trivia game that attempts to make users more comfortable on the web and to lead a more active lifestyle. Previous Work in the Field Commercial Systems Few high-quality online trivia games share our aim to change users lifestyles. This lack of related work made it difficult to design a game to meet our goals. However, after studying a variety of fun and addicting trivia games, we realized how to use the elements of a trivia game to make a high-quality game that is both addicting to play and beneficial to the user s health and computer ability. Although the initial design was difficult to realize, we have the final advantage of being the first game of its kind. The DaVinci Code Game Da Vinci Game RandomHouse games. October 2, <http://www.randomhouse.com/doubleday/davinci/main.html> Located at the DaVinci Code Game is perhaps the best example of a trivia game that keeps the user s attention. Based off the best selling book, The DaVinci Code, the game wraps a mysterious story around trivia questions. It influenced our game design, since we found it to be effective in grasping the user s attention and having a simple user interface. In addition, the game combines online tasks with offline tasks such as using the telephone. This interactivity made this game more interesting and unique than other trivia games. Similarly, we developed our game with offline tasks in mind as well. Senior Store Games for Seniors Senior Store.com October 2, <http://www.seniorstore.com/hobbies.html> Located at Senior Store is the premiere online store for products for people over the age of fifty. It categorizes its products into gifts for 2
5 grandmothers, grandfathers, moms, dads, and more. This site gave us a good idea: not all adults are interested in the same things and so it would be smart to develop a variety of tasks and questions that target different users. Academic Papers As expected, we found a variety of academic papers relating to persuasive technique. Using Causal Persuasive Arguments to Change Anderson, Craig & Slusher, Morgan (1996). Using Causal Persuasive Arguments to Change Beliefs and Teach New Information: The Mediating Role of Explanation Availability and Evaluation Bias in the Acceptance of Knowledge. Journal of Educational Psychology, 88(1), The authors of this article challenged the hypothesis that causal arguments have the greatest persuasive power. The researchers performed two experiments in which causal evidence and non-causal (such as statistical) evidence were used to argue that AIDS is not transmissible by casual contact. The results indicated that the original hypothesis was correct; casual arguments are the most persuasive in nature. This source was relevant to our project because one of our original goals for the game was to get seniors to change their behavior to learn to use a computer effectively. In the end, we decided that we would focus on improving the senior s use of the computer by making them perform different tasks in order to progress through the game. The Persuasion Knowledge Model: How People Cope with Persuasion Attempts Friestad, Marian & Wright, Peter (1994). The Persuasion Knowledge Model: How People Cope with Persuasion Attempts. The Journal of Consumer Research, 21(1), The authors of this article present The Persuasion Knowledge Model, a model describing how people s previous knowledge of the marketer s goals impacts their response to persuasion attempts. They conclude that there is a marked difference between the acceptance of information given in a non-persuasive atmosphere and when the consumer realizes the marketer s intent. This paper was also relevant because it made us decide that an indirect approach to behavior change was best. The idea is that no one would want to play a game that had lessons and tasks that were obviously meant to increase proficiency with the computer. The Persuasive Impact of Message Spacing Malaviya, Preshant & Sternthal, Brian (2001). The Persuasive Impact of Message Spacing. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 6(3), The researchers of this paper attempt to scientifically analyze the effectiveness of exposure to various spacing between identical messages (they acknowledge that much research had previously been completed regarding the impact of persuasive messaging). They conclude not only that high repetition can decrease the impact of the messaging, but 3
6 that lower repetition can actually increase the persuasion effectiveness. This paper was relevant to our project because it convinced us that it is best not to repeat the same kinds of lessons over and over. One of the goals for our game was to improve cognitive health in older adults, by stimulating them with memories from their past. We decided to have our game span 4 decades from the 1950 s to the 1980 s instead of focusing on a single time period. Towards an Ethics of Persuasive Technology Berdichevsky, Daniel & Neunschwander, Erik (1999). Towards an Ethics of Persuasive Technology. Communications of the ACM, 42(5), The authors attempt to prove the importance of ethical issues relating to technology and persuasion. They outline a golden principle of technological persuasion (that those who create technology should not include persuasive elements that they themselves would not consent to). This paper was important because we did not want to elicit behavior change in an unethical way. We ruled out subliminal messages and other ethically questionable means of behavior change. Everyday Problem Solving in Older Adults Diehl, M., Marsiske, M., Rosenberg, A., Saczynski, J. S., Willis, S. L. (2005). The Revised Observed Tasks of Daily Living: A Performance-Based Assessment of Everyday Problem Solving in Older Adults. The Journal of Applied Gerontology, 24(3), This paper provides insight on the cognition of older adults in problem solving. Test subjects were required to complete nine tasks involving medication use, telephone use, and financial management. This paper was very relevant because we could relate the information to come up with game tasks for our users. A Comparison of Cohabiting Relationships Among Older and Younger Adults King, Valarie & Scott, Mindy E. (2005). A Comparison of Cohabiting Relationships Among Older and Younger Adults. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67, This study examines the importance and attitudes of both younger and older adults in terms of companionship. Age affects intentions and assumptions companionship for older and younger adults. Gaming can be a social phenomenon, this paper helped us to see the differences between how younger people interact when compared to older people. Past experiences and older adults attitudes: a lifecourse perspective Poortman, Anne-Rigt & Van Tilburg, Theo G. (2005). Past experiences and older adults attitudes: a lifecourse perspective. Ageing & Society, 25, This study involves adults 55 years and older and their feelings toward gender roles and moral issues. It gives insight on how older adults feel about freedom of choice 4
7 and morality in their lifestyle. This paper was relevant because we wanted to create a game for both genders. Older adults use of information and communications technology in everyday life. Selwyn, N., Gorard, S., Furlong, J., & Madden L. (2003). Older adults use of information and communications technology in everyday life. Ageing & Society, 23, This paper researches use of information and communications technology in the life of adults 60 years and older. Gender, age, martial status, and educational factors of these adults are important factors in determining extent of computer usage among older adults. The conclusion offers ways that technology can adapt to be more friendly to older adults. After reading this paper, we decided that we would try to create our game in a user-friendly way for older adults. Relevant Web Sites Nutrition for the Elderly Nutrition for the elderly Health Promotion Board 12 October 2005 <http://www.hpb.gov.sg/hpb/default.asp?pg_id=865&aid=100> This particular website focuses on Nutrition for the elderly. Elderly individuals need the same amount of nutrients, but typically less calories than more active younger persons. One of our initial goals was to change the behavior of older adults to eat more healthy foods. Later, we decided that this type of persuasive strategy could be seen as pushy and not a fun experience. Older Persons Health Older Persons Health September 21, 2005 National Center for Health Statistics 1 October 2005 <http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/older_americans.htm> This is the website from the National Center for Health Statistics. This particular page shows many statistics about the health of older adults in the United States. Our focus was to help older adults mental health; this website gave us an idea of how many older adults suffer from mental problems. Relevant Presentations J.C. Herz Talk J.C. Herz, a renowned game critic that has written for the N.Y. Times, gave a talk at the AARP. Her talk covered game design and a unique look at different innovative computer games. This presentation was very useful in making design decisions for our game. Some notes from the presentation can be found in Appendix B. 5
8 PRESENTATION OF DESIGN General Approach The process of finalizing this product contained several steps. First, two low-fidelity prototypes were designed. From the low-fidelity prototypes, the high-fidelity prototype was generated. This high-fidelity prototype was tested by users. Based on the usability test feedback on the high-fidelity prototype, the high-fidelity prototype was modified. In addition to user feedback, additional modifications were made after re-evaluating some organizational and functionality issues of the game. Through this process of evaluation and re-design, the highfidelity prototype transformed in to the final product. The final design was made in Flash and contains seven different page types. These pages include login, about-the-game, registration, password-reminder, next level welcome, puzzle, hint, and prize-claim. Page Transitions Figure 1: Transition diagram for game interface Depending on the type of user, two paths can be taken in order to arrive at the first trivia puzzle page. Before playing a puzzle, the user must first login. There are two different ways of logging in: by registering as a new user or by logging in as a returning player. After a successful login or registration, the user is brought to a welcome screen. This welcome screen informs the user of the time decade the subsequent series of questions are set in. Each decade contains three questions. Upon completion of questions from one decade, a welcome screen for the next level is displayed for the next decade. In order to win, the user must successfully 6
9 complete all three questions from each of the decades (1950, 1960, 1970, and 1980). Along the way there is a question inquiring the user s address. The entered address sent a clue to help the player with a question. Obtaining the in the middle of the game rather than at the beginning may encourage more users to start playing since the registration page is short and no contact information is required. After the user completes all puzzles, the user is asked to claim a prize for their participation. Finally, the game ends by thanking the user for playing. See Figure 1 for a more detailed diagram of the page transitions. Page Descriptions Figure 2: Login/Start page The start screen is the login page (Figure 2). The login page is divided into two sections. The left side appeals to returning users while the right side appeals to new users. New users are required to register for the game by clicking the Register button. This button brings users to the registration page (Figure 3). Users can also learn about the game by clicking the About The Game, which navigates to the about screen (Figure 4). Returning users log in on the left side with their registered username and password. If the password is misplaced or forgotten, the Forgot Password button is available. This button brings users to the password-reminder page (Figure 5). After a successful returning player login, the user is brought to the puzzle page at their last logout. 7
10 Figure 3: About page Clicking About The Game from the login screen navigates to the about page (Figure 3). This page gives detailed instructions and information about the game. Clicking on Return to Login Screen from this screen brings the user back to the login screen (Figure 2). 8
11 Figure 4: New player registration page Clicking Register from the login page navigates to the registration page (Figure 4). The user is required to enter a username, password, and mother s maiden name to begin playing. Notice the registration page does not require the user to give any personal information such as name, address, or street address. This change was made based on feedback from the usability tests. Several people were hesitant about giving out contact information over the internet, so to attract more users, the steps to starting the game requires no such information. The user s mother s maiden name acts as a security question. This security question and answer is used in the password-reminder page (Figure 5). All entered information is stored in an online database. On a successful registration, clicking Start Your Game brings the user to the first welcome screen (Figure 6). A successful registration is one where a unique username is entered, both passwords match, and some non-empty string is entered for the mother s maiden name question. The appropriate error message appears on clicking Start Your Game. The user also has an option to return to the login screen by clicking Return to Login Screen. 9
12 Figure 5: Password reminder page Clicking Forgot Password? from the login page navigates to the password-reminder page (Figure 5). This page is useful for returning users who forget their passwords. However, the user must remember the registered username and mother s maiden name. Once a correct username and mother s maiden name combination is entered, a popup message displays the user the registered password from the database. After being reminded of the password, the user is returned to the login screen (Figure 2). 10
13 Figure 6: Welcome screen A successful first time login brings the user to the welcome screen to the 1950s (Figure 6). This screen informs the user which decade the questions are coming from. Whenever the user completes all the questions from one decade, a new welcome screen appears to indicate they are moving to the next level. 11
14 Figure 7: Puzzle page Figure 8: Puzzle page with hint dialog 12
15 Clicking Let s Play from the welcome screen navigates to a puzzle page (Figure 7). Puzzle pages have a progress bar at the top highlighting the current decade in green. Under the progress bar is the question to be answered. The user must answer the question correctly and press Submit to proceed. A correct answer brings the user to the next question or another welcome screen if all the questions in the decade are complete. An incorrect answer results in a popup dialog that asks the user to try again. If the user needs assistance figuring out the answer to the question, there is a Hint button. Clicking Hint causes a dialog box to appear with the hint in the box (Figure 8). A series of three questions appear before advancing to the next level. A series of three levels or decades appears before the user completes the game. Trivia questions are written about the music, fashion, news, sports, or popular books and toys from the decade. They are aimed to exercise the memory of the users in a nostalgic, enjoyable fashion. See Appendix C for trivia questions. Lastly, the user has the option to logout by pressing Logout. This action saves the users progress into the database allowing the user to begin at the last question upon logout. Figure 9: Claim prize screen Once the user completes the required puzzles, the claim-prize screen appears (Figure 9). Hitting the Claim Your Prize button sends the user s information to AARP. In turn, AARP verifies the user information. A popup dialog also appears informing users that an notification will be sent to the entered address with further details on receiving the prize. The sent suggests the winner to pick up the prize at the nearest AARP office. The closest office is based on the user entered zip code. 13
16 Figure 10: Thanks page Clicking Claim Your Prize from the claim-prize screen navigates to the thanks page (Figure 10). This page is the official ending page of the game. Users may click Return to Login Screen to return to the main page. 14
17 DEVELOPMENTAL PROCESS Developing the Prototypes When developing software, it is extremely important to design different low-fidelity prototype. In this light, our team designed two vastly dissimilar prototypes as a starting point towards a final design. Here is a walk-through for the mockups. For our usability testing we decided to test and improve upon prototype 1. Registration Page Overview A registration page is necessary for two reasons. First, the AARP finds it useful to track users access of their website. One way to implement tracking is to have new users to provide self-identifying information through a registration process, and have returning users login on subsequent visits. Second, having a registration requirement allows users to stop in the middle of the game and return later to continue without restarting. Figure 11: Prototype 1 - Registration screen Prototype 1 The first screen is a sample registration screen. When registering, the users are required to provide a minimal amount of information. Some information includes the user s name, address, and password. These fields are required to create a secure, individual login for each person. The user s birthday is required only for statistical purposes, while the user s zip code will be used in determining the location of a nearby 15
18 AARP office. The address of a local office is necessary because a prize will be awarded upon game completion, which may require the user to visit AARP. The last secret question and answer field is provided in case the users forget their password. After which they will be asked to answer their selected secret question and a new password would be sent if the question was answered correctly. Register for the Game Password Repeat Password Submit Information Figure 12: Prototype 2 - Registration screen Prototype 2 This screen is the second sample registration screen. When registering, the users are required to provide a minimal amount of information. The only information requested here are the user's address and a password. This approach could be less hassle for users and might encourage more people to play the game. The downside of this approach is that it doesn t give the AARP as much information about who is playing the game. Login Screen Developing the final Registration Screen Registering for the game was a procedure that many usability subjects were not satisfied with. Our usability tests found that older people were reluctant to give out information like an address or their home address to play a game. After brainstorming several possibilities, our solution was to ask for only 3 pieces of information. A username that could be anything the user wanted; a password that would stop other people from playing as them, and a security question to remind them of the password in case if they forget. 16
19 Overview It is important to provide a simple, attractive login screen since it is the first screen any user will see upon accessing the game. To log in, a user must provide his address and registered password. Figure 13: Prototype 1 - Login screen Prototype 1 If the /password combination is correct, clicking the PLAY button will log the user into the game. Otherwise, a popup box will appear indicating that the login information was incorrect, advising the user to try again. If the user is not registered with the system, clicking on New Player loads the registration screen (Screen 1). Clicking on Forgot Password causes a popup box to appear asking the user for the answer to his secret question. 17
20 Time Capsule: The Game New Users: **Create an Account** Existing Users: Password: Forgot Login/password? Picture with theme of our game. Figure 14: Prototype 2 - Login screen Prototype 2 The second prototype less graphic, which decreases the time it takes for a browser to load the page and encourages users on slower modems to play the game. All of the functionality described above is included on the screen. For example, there also a link for new players, an address and password textbox. Developing the Final Login Screen Our usability testing found that many people could not correctly log onto the game with our original prototype. They never clicked on our link for New Player. Our solution was to separate the login screen with physical space for the new user and the returning user. We felt as though this approach would make it more intuitive for the users to use the game. Puzzle Screen Overview The game will offer many different types of puzzles. Each type of puzzle will require a slightly different layout. For example, a puzzle asking for the next line in the lyrics of a song may have a link to download the song. Another puzzle may not need an external link and only contain text or a picture directly displayed on the screen. Despite those differences, each puzzle screen will have the same general layout to maintain consistency. 18
21 Figure 15: Prototype 1 - Puzzle screen Prototype 1 The word PUZZLE appears labels the screen to alert users that a question is at hand. Clicking on the Instructions link directly beneath the header launches a popup box with advice on how to complete the puzzle at hand. The contents of the puzzle appear in the darkened area. To complete the puzzle, the user types the answer in the box provided and clicks SUBMIT. 19
22 1 of 10 puzzles complete PUZZLE QUESTION: Do you know the muffin man? SUBMIT Previous Question? Hint? Bookmark this page Check your ranking Join a team Figure 16: Prototype 2 - Puzzle screen Prototype 2 This puzzle screen provides some additional functionality. First, it indicates how many puzzles are complete out of the set. Second, it allows the user to return to the previous question, if they wish to do so. Additionally, a Hint link appears which launches a popup box revealing a hint about solving the puzzle. On the bottom of the screen, three links allow the user to bookmark the game page, check ranking against other users, and join a team of puzzle users. Developing the final Puzzle Screen Our initial usability test showed that people could solve the puzzles fairly well. We decided to add a hint button and a logout button in our final design. We also decided to include a progress bar showing how far the user was in the game. Prize Claim Screen Overview In order to motivate users to complete the entire game, the AARP plans to award users with a prize. It is unclear whether the user will need to provide additional information at this point. Ideally, local AARP offices around the country will have prizes 20
23 at hand for users to claim. If this is not possible, then the AARP will mail out the prize to individual winners. Figure 17: Prototype 1 - Claim prize screen Prototype 1 This interface assumes that AARP will have prizes at local offices. In this case, clicking CLAIM PRIZE launches a popup box that lists local AARP offices which have prizes in stock. Behind the scenes, the software will mark a boolean flag indicating that the user has completed the tasks necessary to be rewarded. The flag will inform AARP employees to confirm the prize request. 21
24 Register to win a prize! Street Address City Do you want to receive the AARP active members Newsletter? Would you like to receive information on health and well-being? Figure 18: Prototype 2 - Claim prize screen Prototype 2 It is also possible that the AARP will mail out the prize to users who complete the game. In this case, additional information from the user will be needed. Since the system will already have name and zip code information, this screen asks for street address and city. In addition, it provides the option of subscribing to the AARP newsletter and a health and well-being newsletter. Developing the final Claim Prize Screen Since, our final design only asked a few questions of the user in order to play the game. We changed the Claim Prize screen to include an in-depth sample of questions to the users. We ask for their street address, their zip code, and other information pertaining to where they live. Usability Testing Submit Information Prior to starting the usability test, the users were reminded that we were only testing the interface to the software and not them as individuals. We performed a total of six usability tests. One was a pilot test on a University student, one test was on a younger adult, and the remaining 4 usability tests on older adults over 45. Before testing we gave the test subjects a brief overview of how each test would proceed. We assigned different tasks to the users. The usability test tasks they completed are as follows: 22
25 Register to use the game. On the interface for the game, there was a link for first time users. The users clicked this link and were then redirected to a page on which they gave their information. The subjects entered their address and a password that they chose for the game. Then they hit a submit button to complete the task. Login to the game. Following registration, the test subjects were instructed to login to the game. To accomplish this task, the subjects had to use the address and password they indicated during completion of the first task. Then they clicked a submit button to log in to the game. Complete a puzzle. The game presented a challenging question for the user to answer. The users then typed in their answer into the text box on the interface and hit the submit button to complete the task. Register to receive a prize for completing the game. Mike Lee has suggested that prizes could be given out at the end of our game in order to encourage users to complete the entire game. Test subjects were asked to print out their registration information. Then they were given directions to their nearest AARP office to receive their prize. Pre-Test Post-Test Before the test subjects were allowed to take the usability test, it was useful to collect a few pieces of person data to confirm that they fit certain criteria. The information that we collected includes: Age? Computer Experience? (Options would include novice, intermediate, and expert. We would include a description of each to assist.) Vision or Hearing Impairments? Member of AARP? (Options would include past member or current member.) Average number of hours of computer use per week? Average number of hours spent playing computer games per week? Average number of hours spent online per week? The questionnaire for these pre-test questions is included in Appendix A. After the test subject completed the tasks required, general questions about the overall layout of the screens were be asked. These questions included: On a scale of 1-9 with 1 being repulsive and 9 being marvelous, rate the visual appeal of the interface in terms of color choice and contrast? On a scale of 1-9 with 1 being repulsive and 9 being marvelous, rate the visual appeal of the interface in terms of font size and style. 23
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