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Scottie Social connectedness in healthcare

Dick Van Dijk , Sabine Wildevuur

In this paper we present Scottie, a research and design project in which Media Lab Waag Society explores the role of media ICT in supporting existing social relationships of people who are physically or geographically separated. Media ICT is applied to increase social interaction through social connectedness. The authors use the term social connectedness to describe the experience of being part of a social group. This experience is in normal circumstances reinforced by non-verbal, social-emotional stimuli that in our everyday interactions confirm that we are part of this relationship. We describe the sensibilities of our specific user group (children, aged 10 to 15, who have to stay in a hospital for a longer period of time, and are disconnected from their social circle) and the design challenges we face when mediating social connectedness. The prototype underwent several changes in an iterative design process, in which the users played an important role. The user evaluation identified a potentially promising new target audience, namely elderly people who live in nursing homes and are disconnected from their loved ones.