The PACO project gains fundamental insights into the acceptance, working mechanisms and persuasiveness of virtual agents for eHealth. Such agents, which are computer-generated, animated conversation partners for technology users, allow for rich and persuasive automated communication. As compliance to health advice is important for positive health outcomes, successful design of persuasive virtual agents can have huge health benefits. However, insights on how to design such agents for the eHealth context are non-existent.
Through a series of studies (co-design sessions with older adults, qualitative experiments, and a real- life evaluation), we will identify the different factors that explain virtual agents’ potential success for dietary change in older adults. A co-design panel consisting of older adults will be an important asset of the project. The project partners will disseminate the project insights not only via scientific outlets, but will also foster a crossover with the design industry, the care sector, and older adults (e.g., via a design manual and a dedicated communication strategy for older adults).
The project is financially supported by a ZonMW grant and will be carried out by Wageningen University and Research, Roessingh Research and Development, WAAG society and the National Foundation for the Elderly.