Funder: ESRC – as part of Loneliness in the Digital Age


Team: John Vines, Shaun Lawson, Kiel Long, Ioannis Petridis (Northumbria University); Julie Barnett, Konstantina Vasileiou (University of Bath); Mike Wilson, Lyndsey Bakewell (Loughborough University); Manuela Baretto, Mark Atkinson (University of Exeter); Janine Woodward-Grant (BANES Carers Centre).




Timeframe: 2016-2018

ChatR was one of the outputs of a two-year long engagement with family carers, where we had conducted interview and design workshops to explore the experiences of transitioning to being a carer and the feelings of isolation and lack of social connectivity that come from this. Our interviews identified that because of a sudden withdrawal from professional and social networks to take on this role, many carers experience significant reductions in opportunities to socialise and meet others, and feel those who were close to them know longer understand their new circumstances. We developed ChatR with carers as a response to some of these challenges. It is designed to remotely connect carers through an asynchronous audio-based network. It allows them to search through channels with different content on them, and to share short stories, ask questions, or share some advice across a closed group of other carers. ChatR allows the carers to listen to the contributions of others, respond to them, or just ‘like’ what they have heard. We have conducted an initial pilot evaluation of the first version of the ChatR system, and planning to do a more in depth study during 2019 or 2020.

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------- Publications related to this project:

Long, K., Bakewell, L., McNaney, R., Vasilieou, K., Atkinson, M., Barreto, M., Barnett, J., Wilson, M., Lawson, S., and Vines, J. 2017. Connecting Those That Care: Designing for Transitioning, Talking, Belonging and Escaping. In: Proceedings of ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’17), pp. 1339-1351.


Vasileiou, K., Barnett, J., Barreto, M., Vines, J., Atkinson, M., Lawson, S., and Wilson, M. 2017. Experiences of Loneliness Associated with Being an Informal Caregiver: A Qualitative Investigation. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 585.