PLEINAIR project: participatory methodologies to validate and integrate product concepts with young users
Authors: Giuseppe Mincolelli, Gian Andrea Giacobone, Michele Marchi
Abstract: This contribution describes the final part of the development process of PLEINAIR (Free and Inclusive Parks in Networks for Recreational and Physical Intergenerational Activity), a two-years multidisciplinary research project financed by the POR FESR 2014-2020 program regulated by Emilia Romagna Region in Italy.The PLEINAIR project aims to develop a smart outdoor park, specifically designed for encouraging positive socio-recreational interactions among different generations and for promoting the adoption of active lifestyles for all and at any stage of their life.This is because, according to WHO, sedentary lifestyle is increasing worldwide and it risks to produce more cardiovascular diseases compared to the past, but also because most of the urban parks nowadays are composed of arbitrary and selective areas that do not stimulate interaction between different generations.The purpose of PLEINAIR is to provide real solutions through operational products called OSOs (Outdoor Smart Objects). Monitoring a series of parameters – through an IoMT (Internet of Medical Things) infrastructure – related to people’s motor or ludic activities, the OSOs aim to find the most suitable and customizable motivational strategies to stimulate a positive health lifestyle for any user at any age.PLEINAIR is based on a Human-Centered Design approach and it utilizes participative Co-Design techniques to discover and satisfy the real needs of people.Due to the COVID-19, the first part of the needs analysis was conducted remotely. Despite there were no chances to interact with users in person, the on-line activities collected many insights to develop the early concepts of the OSOs.When the Italians lockdown restrictions in public education were temporally less severe, two Co-Design workshops were organized involving two schools in Province of Bologna, Italy, to collaboratively validate and refine the concept ideas with young users.Considering this, the paper describes two Co-Design activities performed in both schools.The first workshop collaborated with an elementary school and it was divided in two parts: the first stage collected the children’s and expectations about the OSOs’ early concepts through a visual questionnaire; the second stage used free drawing to collect children’s ideas, dreams and expectations about their personal concepts of PLEINAIR outdoor park.The second workshop involved an high school and it was divided in three main round tables, each one focused on a specific aspect of the PLAINAIR IoTM system: the first table co-designed the graphical interface and the navigation system of PLAINAIR application; the second table co-designed and co-validated the motivational strategies that the app uses to encourage people to improve their health conditions; the third table co-designed digital and analogic interactions for dialoguing with the OSOs. The activities were based on an open debate and free drawing session because they let young users free to express themselves around the three themes of the workshop. The final results produced qualitative data that were difficult to collect during the remote activities and they were used, as guidelines, to improve many aspects of the User Experience of the PLEINAIR IoTM system.
Keywords: Human-Centered Design, Co-Design, Health, Smart Object Outdoor, participatory methodologies
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