ANITA project – “Adaptive iNterfaces for accessible and Inclusive digiTal services for older Adults“
Digital technologies have become indispensable in our daily lives, but they can pose challenges for older people who are not always familiar with these tools. Digital technology is often a source of exclusion for older people, who can feel excluded from social and cultural life. That’s why the ANITA project has been set up to help older people get to grips with digital tools and use them independently.
The ANITA project – Adaptive Interfaces for accessible and Inclusive digiTal services for older Adults – is an ANR project aimed at improving digital accessibility and inclusion for older people. Coordinated by Broca Hospital (APHP), the project involves several European partners, namely the Grenoble Computer Science Laboratory (LIG), the Public Assistance Hospitals of Paris (APHP), ISIR at Sorbonne University, and Spoon.
Description of the ANITA project by Mohamed Chetouani, project member at ISIR.
What does the project involve?
The ANITA project addresses the issue of accessibility and e-inclusion for older adults. Using an multidisciplinary and integrative approach, we aim to contribute to a better understanding of older adults needs and preferences regarding the access to digital services using virtual assistants. Qualitative and experimental methods (associating clinical assessments, UX (user experience) approaches, machine learning, social signal processing techniques, social sciences methods) will allow a better comprehension of older adults needs so that more inclusive, effective, useful, and acceptable virtual assistant interfaces are designed. At its completion, the project will propose concrete ways to bridge the digital divide for older adults by identifying key points for an accessible and acceptable interface design. Such findings will be summarized into a set of practical guidelines for stakeholders willing to engage in an inclusive design approach or to implement and use these solutions. ANITA will also provide a technological and conceptual basis for other publics with specific needs that could also benefit from the dynamic adaptability of virtual assistants for different tasks.
What is the project’s objective?
The main objective of ANITA is the design, development and assessment of an adaptive virtual assistant platform, for providing access to digital services, that is able to accommodate different needs and capacities of older adults. Two key features of the project are:
- the focus on automatic and dynamic recognition of user’s behavior (verbal and non-verbal), which will serve as input to the system for providing customized adjustments of accessibility parameters and interaction modalities,
- and the design of interface behaviors for the virtual assistants that promote accessibility, effective and positive interactions when using the system.
What are the possible applications?
The main application is the creation of interfaces to facilitate access to services.
ANITA will provide a comprehensive approach to the conception and use of virtual assistants for older adults, addressing themes such as the digital divide, social inclusion, representations as well as advantages and drawbacks related to the use of virtual assistants by older adults themselves and by technology designers. We will also examine ethical risks (e.g., deception, attachment, replacement of human assistance, vulnerability, stigmatization) and legal concerns (e.g. consent, privacy, security) regarding technologies using AI, user data collection, and user profiling for the effective operation of the services.
The analysis of non-verbal behaviour using methods from social signal processing, psychology and cognitive science is central to the activities of the ISIR PIRoS team.