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Item: Iterative User Testing and First Prototype Version

Iterative user testing on prototypes of the SOCIALCARE platform is a fundamental task in the project. In June, first mock-up tests of a selected component have been performed with end-users and usability experts from LIFEtool (AT) and the National Foundation for the Elderly (NL). Further user tests with the mock-ups of the remaining components is taking place in September 2016. These mock-ups, which have been created for all planned components of the platform, simulate interactive functionality and full navigation. During the user tests, the mock-ups are presented to the users in a controlled lab environment together with usability experts.

In parallel, the technical partners of the SOCIALCARE project are working hard on the implementation of a first prototype version of the platform. As part of the iterative evaluation, the high-fidelity prototypes, which can be run on the target devices already, will be tested with end-users, too. In addition to lab tests, we plan to have long-term field tests with analytics tools for the automatic logging of user interactions on their mobile devices in a natural setting. The research group Mobile Interactive Systems of the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria developed a tool called "automate toolkit" for this purpose. The primary goal of the toolkit development was to provide an automated procedure for conducting usability tests on mobile platforms. To evaluate how users are interacting with an app, developers can either run time-consuming and expensive user studies, or they can automatically log interaction and context data in the field and analyze it to identify usability issues.

The automate toolkit allows us to track all user interactions such as visited pages, used functions, and the number of interactions, but also context information such as battery status, light condition, device orientation. In order for us to identify weaknesses in the user interface and interaction design. It was published as open source project in August 2016 under the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 3 and is hosted on GitHub. It contains everything needed for tracking mobile device usage and context information on Android phones. The automate toolkit app, available via Google Play, provides a convenient and customizable way to track the usage of arbitrary applications on Android. The tracked data is stored locally in CSV files, which can be processed further e.g. in statistical software like R.

In the further course of the SOCIALCARE project, the automate toolkit will support the field tests of high-fidelity prototypes at different development stages. Moreover, it is currently being extended with functionalities to perform controlled experiments with end-users in laboratory settings.
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Iterative User Testing and First Prototype Version