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User Centered Virtual Coaching for Older Adults at Home Using SMART Goal Plans and I-Change Model
Article

User Requirements Analysis of an Embodied Conversational Agent for Coaching Older Adults to Choose Active and Healthy Ageing Behaviors during the Transition to Retirement: A Cross-National User Centered Design Study

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Centre for Socio-Economic Research on Aging, IRCCS INRCA-National Institute of Health and Science on Aging, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Istituto Nazionale di Ricovero e Cura per Anziani, 60124 Ancona, Italy
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Model of Care and New Technologies, IRCCS INRCA-National Institute of Health and Science on Aging, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Istituto Nazionale di Ricovero e Cura per Anziani, 60124 Ancona, Italy
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Institute of Computer Science, University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt, 2700 Wiener Neustadt, Austria
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Nursing Programme, University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt, 2700 Wiener Neustadt, Austria
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Gouden Dagen, 3721 Bilthoven, The Netherlands
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Austrian Institute of Technology, 1210 Wiener Neustadt, Austria
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Saturnino Luz, Bernard Ženko, Senja Pollak and Fasih Haider
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(18), 9681; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189681
Received: 5 August 2021 / Revised: 3 September 2021 / Accepted: 11 September 2021 / Published: 14 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue E-health for Active Ageing)
Background: Retirement is recognized as a factor influencing the ageing process. Today, virtual health coaching systems can play a pivotal role in supporting older adults’ active and healthy ageing. This study wants to answer two research questions: (1) What are the user requirements of a virtual coach (VC) based on an Embodied Conversational Agent (ECA) for motivating older adults in transition to retirement to adopt a healthy lifestyle? (2) How could a VC address the active and healthy ageing dimensions, even during COVID-19 times? Methods: Two-wave focus-groups with 60 end-users aged 55 and over and 27 follow-up telephone interviews were carried out in Austria, Italy and the Netherlands in 2019–2020. Qualitative data were analysed by way of framework analysis. Results: End-users suggest the VC should motivate older workers and retirees to practice physical activity, maintain social contacts and emotional well-being. The ECA should be reactive, customizable, expressive, sympathetic, not directive nor patronizing, with a pleasant and motivating language. The COVID-19 outbreak increased the users’ need for functions boosting community relationships and promoting emotional well-being. Conclusions: the VC can address the active and healthy ageing paradigm by increasing the chances of doing low-cost healthy activities at any time and in any place. View Full-Text
Keywords: embodied conversational agents; healthy aging; older workers; retirees; transition to retirement; users’ requirements; user centered design; virtual coach embodied conversational agents; healthy aging; older workers; retirees; transition to retirement; users’ requirements; user centered design; virtual coach
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MDPI and ACS Style

Santini, S.; Stara, V.; Galassi, F.; Merizzi, A.; Schneider, C.; Schwammer, S.; Stolte, E.; Kropf, J. User Requirements Analysis of an Embodied Conversational Agent for Coaching Older Adults to Choose Active and Healthy Ageing Behaviors during the Transition to Retirement: A Cross-National User Centered Design Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 9681. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189681

AMA Style

Santini S, Stara V, Galassi F, Merizzi A, Schneider C, Schwammer S, Stolte E, Kropf J. User Requirements Analysis of an Embodied Conversational Agent for Coaching Older Adults to Choose Active and Healthy Ageing Behaviors during the Transition to Retirement: A Cross-National User Centered Design Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(18):9681. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189681

Chicago/Turabian Style

Santini, Sara, Vera Stara, Flavia Galassi, Alessandra Merizzi, Cornelia Schneider, Sabine Schwammer, Elske Stolte, and Johannes Kropf. 2021. "User Requirements Analysis of an Embodied Conversational Agent for Coaching Older Adults to Choose Active and Healthy Ageing Behaviors during the Transition to Retirement: A Cross-National User Centered Design Study" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 18: 9681. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189681

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