The name „Further Perlenkette“ (EN: Further Pearl Necklace) stands for an online platform specifically designed for the needs of citizens living in the north of Neuss in a neighborhood called Neusser Furth. The goal is to create an integrative network of people with different age-, skill- and cultural backgrounds. The platform is designed to allow people to use it on all devices (PC, mobile, all OS), and even offline through a number of volunteers, thereby allowing people who are not connected to the Internet or have less technical skills to partake. As such the focus is on designing a socio-technical system with a low threshold to use. Special focus is the senior population in order to create networks within the neighborhood which allow people to receive help and support or simply connect socially and give support to others that are long-lasting and engage people actively in the community after retirement. The interface is designed taking the needs of seniors into account and being user-friendly.
Together with the St. Augustinus Memory Centre and the local senior network „weg vom Sofa“ (run by the catholic church in the area) we established a core team of people developing the design concept of the platform in a participatory design process. Currently four seniors are part of this core team to ensure that the platform is senior-friendly and establishes a reasonable amount of trust between participants. Mona Muzzaffar has been working on the design as part of her Bachelor Thesis. The process follows the iterative steps of user-centered design in which requirements were established based on a questionnaire study run in the Neusser Furth early 2017 and prototypes were developed and discussed in the core team ranging from simple scribbles to interactive clickable prototypes. Currently, a student team (MSc. Media Informatics) is implementing a first running version of the platform with current web technologies (node.js, rest api, react framework etc.). The project was selected in 2016 as one of 14 citizen groups in the model project „Bürger vernetzen Nachbarschaften. Quartiersentwicklung nutzt digitalen Wandel” (EN: Citizens connect neighborhoods. Development of neighborhoods through digital change) of the ministry for building, living, urban planning and traffic of the northrhine-westphalian government and the design research lab of the university of arts in Berlin.
Project management: Alina Huldtgren, Fabian Mertl
Cooperation with: St. Augustinus Memory Center, Neuss