had to be found that managed different
providers and that could receive
signals through the thick church walls.
Moreover, the camera and microphone
had to be high resolution, but small
enough not to disturb visitors. With
these requirements in mind, we put
together a portable box in which
a microprocessor was installed to
transmit the stream and into which
all connections, including cables, the
camera with a tripod, the wireless
microphone, and the SIM card USB
Dongle, could be inserted (Figure 1). A
single power connection is required to
run the complete system. In addition,
the box can be easily and safely hidden.
With a long cable, the camera can be
placed on a pre-tested spot. To allow
viewers to see as much as possible, a
wide-angle lens was used. Due to the
missing WLAN, a 10-meter-long USB
cable was used with a USB SIM card
dongle (Figure 2). This makes it easier
to determine the correct position in
the room if connection problems occur
with the mobile phone provider. A
wireless headset is used to capture the
priest’s audio. A special feature of the
system is the possibility to transmit
a stream, including audio, despite a
slow data connection like EDGE. This
overcomes the Internet problem.
At the software level, a website and a
customized app for Android users were
developed (Figure 3). The possibility
to call the service is communicated
by both the priest and the community
nurse. It is also announced as a link in
the parish newsletter. People mainly
use the app developed for Android
on their smartphones and tablets.
The design and functions have been
adapted to the needs of older citizens.
The most important aspect was
usability, so church members can find
information about the next location
for the mass and find old recorded
streams. The stream can be viewed
at any time (Sunday is a time of heavy
Internet use) and in full-screen mode
if desired (Figure 4). Furthermore,
a chat was included, so members of
the community have the opportunity
to express their opinions and make
suggestions or give feedback about the
content and quality of the video.
The design and implementation of the
church streaming system necessitated
cooperation with various local actors.
“Door openers,” such as the priest
and community nurse, along with 10
other stakeholders, including eight
older villagers ages 67 to 85 and two
other local actors, were recruited.
Semi-structured interviews were
conducted in a preliminary study in
which the idea of the church stream was
discussed as part of general reflections
on how social participation and
interaction between citizens could be
supported. The special thing about our
development and implementation of the
church stream is the participative I T
design with older, rather nontechnical
people. Participatory design projects
face the challenge of building
bridges between lofty visions and the
participants’ experience of everyday
life. It is necessary to establish a
design space between researchers and
older project participants in order
to enable collaborative design work.
For this reason, an important basis
for the continuous collaboration was
“appropriation cafes,” sometimes
organized as experience-based
participatory design workshops [ 6, 7, 8].
These workshops focusing on
learning and technology acquisition
for older adults, combined with design
Figure 5. Participants of the appropriation cafes and future workshop.
Figure 4. Streaming app tested on the tablet.