Interaction design, applied to Internet-connected smartphones, is the perfect tool to engage User eXperiences (UX) which can increase adherence to the intervention.
Interaction design for sexual health: In the scientific field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), designing for human experience, wellness or embodiment has become part of what is known as the Third-Wave HCI, which also includes a new set of studies and technology experiments on human intimacy. More recently, the field has come to reflect on sexuality and older age. However, while there are studies on design principles to address sexuality for adolescents, there are no similar studies for senior users. Anathema will seek to address the gap with technology for sexual health designed with and for older adults and people with chronic conditions.
Despite the shortcomings in HCI, we consider past work that can provide some guidance to begin our interaction design work. First, design/interaction principles are useful with other user groups, which might apply to Anathema. For example, in prior work with adolescents or with adult women, humour is used to address taboo issues as a way to engage users with the technology and create comfort in addressing otherwise embarrassing topics. Serious games are also used to assist with education. Another technique is the embodiment of interaction by reflecting/externalising parts of the human body, or emotions, in a screen or wearable so that users can deal with their bodies and emotions through new eyes. Secondly, research on Design & Emotion provides frameworks to design products that are appealing to users. An example is Jordan’s typology of pleasure with products: physio (delight of the human senses); psycho (positive emotions from cognitive processes, e.g. mastering a skill); socio (how a product influences sense of self); and ideo (product’s relation to one’s moral values). Looking specifically at product meaning, Schifferstein and Zwartkruis-Pelgrim have identified four facets relevant to person-product attachment: enjoyment, individual autonomy, group affiliation and life vision. Another example is Desmet and Hekkert’s categorisation of product experience in three types: aesthetic experience, the experience of meaning and emotional experience, followed by strategies to elicit such experiences. We note that enabling memory association with products facilitates attachment, as are surprise factors designed into the product. Another relevant point of view is that the consumer market has seen a shift in sex-related technologies towards luxury experiences with design concerns akin to other types of consumer products in terms of experience, quality of materials and interactions, and elegance of product image. An important part of Anathema will be the exploration of smartphone-smartphone interaction for couples engaged in the intervention.
Given the wide variety of expected abilities in the user groups (older adults, colorectal cancer survivors and stroke survivors), Anathema will follow an Inclusive Design approach. Inclusive Design aims at including the widest possible range of users, regardless of age, abilities, body stature or culture. Therefore, we will invest in redundancy in interaction using multimodality beyond bringing users themselves to co-design the solution. So, for instance, if a user struggles to read written information, they will have the option to have it in audio.