User Experience Validation
VAALID IDE is a complex system that allows multiple interactions between its different components as well as the users interacting with it.
This simplified model shows three layers. The bottommost layer (grey) is the backend, containing the data-base, data handling routines, 3D algorithms, etc. The medium layer (green) shows the different views on the VAALID software. It is the user interface layer. The topmost layer is the user layer. Users do not only interact with the system, but also interact with each other while using the system.
Each arrow in this illustration defines an interaction. Any of these is a critical part because this is where the system might fail. The UEX validation included these interactions in order to test the integration of all parts of the VAALID prototype.
The UEX validation have been organized as scenario-based usability test in 2 separate phases, two tests that addressed the VAALID IDE in total
AE Tests: Aim of this study was an evaluation of the final Eclipse based prototype of the VAALID AE, as result of the Human-centred design process, from the usability and user experience perspective.
SE/VR Tests: The goal was to evaluate the quality of the experience of the Simulation Environment with a focus on realism and immersion.
Technical Maturity of the Total System
The final AE and SE/VR tests investigated a realistic setting and, thus proved that the total technical system of VAALID works. These tests covered the same basic components of VAALID, important interactions between those components, and the same data-base. A Solution Designer successfully created an AAL solution in the AE; the Human Factors Expert configured it in the SE, and finally guided an elderly person through the virtual reality of VAALID to assess the AAL solution.
In short, a realistic scenario was tested with VAALID, and VAALID has succeeded.
Interaction between Human Factors Expert, Beneficiary and VAALID
One of the core benefits of VAALID is its use in the validation of AAL solutions before these solutions are going to be implemented in the real world. VAALID allows testing these solutions in virtual reality with remarkably less effort and costs, which saves both time and money. Those test sessions are supposed to be conducted by a human factors expert. He has to fulfil several tasks: to guide an elderly person through the virtual flat, to guide this person through the evaluation procedure, to provide support when technical difficulties arise and to assess whether the implemented AAL solution is appropriate.
The extensive and in-depth tests show that the core value proposition of VAALID works. In addition to that, they also clearly show the value of the original concept. The interaction concept has proven itself and shall be re-emphasized in future exploitations. The evidence clearly indicates the great potential of VAALID. In the words of our stakeholders:
"It's very realistic, intuitive and practice. You can imagine what is being simulated". AAL designer
"It allows simulating scenarios so that people understand better what I try to do and allows developing requirements". AAL designer
"It's an effective tool to involve users in co-design processes". AAL designer
"The VR seems to convey a good feeling of being in a real flat to most of the beneficiaries". Human-factors expert
"I would definitely bet on a tool like this. It is essential in the design phase, because today it is unfortunately very frequent to arrive at the final design without sufficient considerations of the characteristics and special needs of the beneficiaries. This tool would allow considering these aspects very early in the design process". Human Factors Expert
"Nice and fun experience". Beneficiary
"I had a clear feeling of being in that flat, including the difficulties in choosing the best places where to pass through (e.g. go around the table) as in real life". Beneficiary