Overview
Dance! Don't Fall was game for Android and Google TV that monitored fall risk by evaluating users’ movements as they performed choreographed dances. The application made the top 25 at the Mobile Apps Showdown of the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show. I worked with Francisco Nunes to execute the research and design.
Literature review
We began our process with a brief literature review on similar projects, including DanceAlongDance Town, and a modified version of Dance Dance Revolution. Our findings confirmed our notion that dance is a well-liked form of exercise for older adults and provided some insights regarding what makes a successful exer-game for senior users -- for instance, the importance of social play and the fact that external controllers can be distracting.
Observation
We subsequently conducted video and live observation. The video observation consisted of YouTubing dances for seniors and beginners and noting typical characteristics; these videos led us to the idea of a line dance style choreography. To get a firsthand perspective, we attended a traditional Portuguese dance event at a local senior center. We even got to participate, which made for some entertaining videos to review!
Iterative paper prototyping
Following the research phase, Francisco and I began prototyping the application on paper and iterating the design rapidly based on the feedback of the rest of the team. At the same time, we chose a song and choreographed a dance based on our research findings and input from the team members responsible for the algorithm that recognizes specific dance steps.
Usability testing
After competing in the Mobile Apps Showdown contest we continued to work on Dance! Don’t Fall. I planned a usability study that two coworkers, Ana Vasconcelos and Juarez Souza, helped to facilitate. Ten seniors aged 68-89 participated in the study, overall giving extremely positive feedback -- they even wanted us to bring the game to the senior center for an event! The usability study revealed several key ways to improve the game in the future, most notably working with a [real] choreographer to develop a better method of presenting dance instructions to players, as well as to adapt popular dances to the game.
Conference paper
We wrote a conference paper on this project that was presented in June of 2012 at pHealth in Porto. The full text of the paper, titled "Dance! Don't Fall - Preventing Falls and Promoting Exercise at Home," is available from the publisher's website.

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