Mobile Age
Home News Mobile age featured in the Regional Bremen Newspaper “Stadtteil-Kurier”


Mobile age featured in the Regional Bremen Newspaper “Stadtteil-Kurier”


Digitals district guide for older adults

A research team at the University of Bremen wants to identify needs for the internet use

Written by Silja Weisser

Osterholz. They have put months of work into the eight coloured tiles. Now the first test phase starts: The digital district guide in Osterholz is online. One click on leads to the homepage where you can choose between the categories nice places, culture, sport, meeting places, counselling services, telephone numbers, voices of Osterholz and background information on the pilot project named Mobile Age.

It aims at supporting older citizens’ access to information through using mobile technology. Behind Mobile Age is a research team consisting of Dr Juliane Jarke, Professor Herbert Kubicek and PhD student Ulrike Gerhard from the Institute for Information Management Bremen. The kick-off was in June 2016. Every second week eleven older citizens from the city district of Osterholz met in order to develop the district guide and to fill it with content. In parallel to the work funded by the European Union, participants in three further countries worked on the project.

Focus on social inclusion

The focus of the Bremen project is on enhancing the self-sufficient participation in public life. Tailored on the needs of older adults it provides map-based information, for example, in the category nice places on how to reach this place with public transportation and where the next public toilet is. Further, there are details on seating accommodation and lightning.

Nice places is one of the most popular categories among the participants, says Kubicek. Many want to show their appreciation of the district and show others, how many interesting and historic places Osterholz has, he says. However, not always the participants do their homework, Kubicek deplores. To investigate all the details, to visit the places, to take pictures and to keep the data actual is a very time consuming task and not everybodys taste, says the expert. Therefore the project is behind the planned schedule. The research team was supported by the history workshop in Osterholz, 3hich contributed interesting facts to the places and delivered texts and historical backgrounds. Some of the participants are experienced in digital media, such as Monika Priemel from the local citizens-online-editing team (BORIS) who is 55 years old and is the youngest in the group. Others like the 75 years old Peter Schrder first have to become familiar with internet applications. However, the requirements for the involvement are not computer skills but local knowledge, Ulrike Gerhard explains. The technical realisation was carried out by the research institute for technology and handicap Voltmarstein (FTB).

In a test phase, the participants tested the district guide themselves. Your grandchild is visiting you, a passionate angler. Look for a nice place for a fishing trip with him, was one task. And the fishing trip falls into the water. What are the opening hours of the local museum to visit an exhibition?

The test phase ends in in early summer. Until users are invited to evaluate the website. The research-team hopes to receive brisk resonance to the online questionnaire available on the start page. Special attention was paid to the commentary function. Suggestions, critique and additional information are welcome.

In the end, the project is going to provide insights on how older adults can be successfully involved in the development of online services, Kubicek explains and indicates that the needs of older people differ from those of younger people. If you want to motivate older people who do not yet use the internet to go online, you have to be oriented towards their needs, interests and possibilities, says Kubicek. This is best guaranteed through their involvement. The project ends in 2019. The application will be adopted by Bremen Online.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 693319
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Home News Mobile age featured in the Regional Bremen Newspaper “Stadtteil-Kurier”