Many Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) projects follow a user-centered design approach. After having identified the users’ requirements, needs and expectations, there is often the challenge of how to design appropriate system for users and how to conceptualize the iterative evaluation investigating how usable and user-friendly the AAL system is in terms of usability, how user experiences the interaction with the system and whether they would accept and use it, i.e., what the added value is.
Fuchsberger et al. (2012) developed the Values in Action (ViA) approach in order to find a suitable evaluation approach that combines usability, user experience, and user acceptance and assesses users’ requirements and needs. ViA is based on the consideration that values can include the user’s perspective (e.g., emotions or experiences), as well as technological aspects (e.g., accessibility or adaptivity), which are important for AAL projects. The ViA approach aims to support value- and user-centered design in AAL projects. It assigns needs from the requirements analysis to different factors related to usability, user experience, and user acceptance and the six different values (i.e., functional, social, emotional, epistemic, interpersonal, and conditional).
The functional value, which is defined as the perceived utility for achieving a specific task or a practical goal, refers directly to the UX factor perceived sociability, to the UA factor perceived ease of use, and perceived usefulness, as well as indirectly to many usability factors like efficiency and effectiveness. The epistemic value, which is related to experiencing new products, captures the UX (and also UA) factors curiosity and learning. The conditional value referring to products being tied to specific contexts. The social value, as the symbolic importance of the artifact for conveying social image, can be linked to the UX factors social image or self-expression. Finally, the emotional value is the potential of the product to arouse emotions, which are believed to accompany the use of a product, taking UX factors like fun/perceived enjoyment or computer anxiety into account.
We want to emphasize that ViA is an open approach and believe that different factors or values might be appropriate for other projects and user groups. Additionally, one ViA per project might not be enough and different ViA models (containing different factors with different weights) are needed for the different user groups (i.e., older adults, relatives, and care givers). The development of ViA models can help to prioritize the development of functionalities addressing values being most important for the user groups. This ensures that the developed system is valued by user groups.
The ViA model has been originally developed for the FamConnector project (funded by AAL JP), was advanced for the Entrance project (funded by AAL JP), and is currently applied in the GeTVivid project (funded by AAL JP). In the GeTVivid project, we also investigated for the first time how ViA can inform the value proposition of the business model (Moser et al., 2014).