The European project GUIDE ("Gentle user interfaces for elderly people") is creating a software framework and design tools which allows developers to efficiently integrate accessibility and personalisation features into their applications, minimizing intervention with existing development process and tools.

GUIDE provides automatic integration and adaptation of various legacy and next-generation user interface technologies, such as gesture interaction, voice control, avatars, second screen multi-touch devices and gyroscopic remote controls.

GUIDE-enabled applications and services can automatically adapt their user interface to the specific impairments and preferences of elderly users.

GUIDE puts a dedicated focus on the emerging Web & TV platforms and services (Connected TVs, Set-Top Boxes, etc.). These platforms have the potential to become the main media terminals in the users’ homes, due to their convenience and wide acceptance.

GUIDE develops a set of references applications (home automation, video conferencing, tele-learning, media access) that can help elderly citizens to simplify their daily life, stay connected in their social network and enhance their understanding of the world.


The aim of the GUIDE is to fill the accessibility, expertise, time, budget and framework gaps for the developers of Web&TV applications. This is realised through a comprehensive approach to integration of various user interface technologies, multi-modal adaptation to the user’s impairments and preferences and design-time virtual user simulation based on advanced user models.

As application platform, GUIDE targets connected TVs and Set-Top Boxes, including emerging application platforms such as HbbTV, but also proprietary STB middleware solutions that integrate broadcast and broadband services. These platforms have the potential to address the special needs of elderly users with applications such as for home automation, communication or continuing education.

The GUIDE objectives (and related targeted outcomes) can be categorized and summarized in the following way:

  • Develop an open source software framework for automatic multi-modal adaptation of user interfaces to the impairments and preferences of elderly users on Web & TV platforms (STBs, Connected TV). (→ GUIDE framework)
  • Realize a “virtual user”-centred design process for developers based on user simulation, to make involvement of user requirements in development more efficient. (→ GUIDE toolbox)
  • Develop and standardise a new user model that reflects impairments and preferences of elderly people in order to enable multi-modal adaptation, in close cooperation with other European research projects. (→ GUIDE user model)
  • Collect, process and share relevant design knowledge for application developers and provide it on a web-based portal. (→ GUIDE Handbook)
  • Integrate existing as well as beyond state-of-the-art UI technology (remote control, free-hands & gesture control, speech, avatars) and perform user-dependent adaptation. (→ GUIDE UI components)
  • Conduct extensive tests with elderly users to better understand requirements related to ageing-related impairments and preferences. (→ GUIDE user requirements & guidelines)
  • Develop reference applications (home automation, media access, video conferencing and tele-learning) to improve social inclusion, assisted living and continuous learning of elderly users. Further the applications should validate the feasibility of GUIDE concepts for developers. (→ GUIDE applications)

Time Line

The project started on the 01-02-2010 and has the duration of 36 months

People on this Project

Current Achievements

In the first year GUIDE has mainly concentrated on gathering and analysing requirements from the various stakeholders of the project. Further, specifications of the GUIDE framework as well as of user interface technologies and applications have been developed.

EPG- Electronic Programme Guide for GUIDE
EPG- Electronic Programme Guide for GUIDE

On the user requirements side, GUIDE has performed three phases of user trials. In the trials, several approaches have been followed. Initially, users where asked to answer to a questionnaire that collected information about their experience with technology as well as to make a self-assessment of their impairments. In focus-group sessions, further more detailed technical questions were answered, supported by UI mock-ups (e.g. PPT slides showing screenshots) and dedicated video scenes showing multi-modal interaction with a mock-up GUIDE system. These scenes involved elderly actors and UI-mock ups of all GUIDE applications. Furthermore, users performed real interactive tests with a fully integrated user test application that covers most of the UI technologies considered for GUIDE. These interactive tests collected preference feedback as well as raw data as a basis for user modelling. Major outcomes of these tests where preliminary guidelines for prototype improvement and application design, first user modelling data, user requirements, modality preferences of users.

For the industrial (developer) requirements, GUIDE has performed a public web-based survey which addressed aspects of accessibility and corresponding industrial requirements. The survey collected data about current practice and features desired for run-time adaptation and design time simulation. The survey had been announced in several networks and mailing lists (e.g. NEM, EDeAN, etc.) and achieved a good response from all stakeholders considered by the project. In addition, GUIDE conducted two dedicated developer focus group sessions in Rennes, involving STB developers from Technicolor, ORANGE, SII, SmarDTV. Furthermore, GUIDE was represented in several workshops/events in this period and could collect and analyse requirements from a wide audience. Moreover, a market study was undertaken to identify potential market gaps and to ensure that GUIDE outcomes are relevant for industry and end customers.

The The GUIDE partners have finalised the specification of the GUIDE Framework and Tools. This specification includes approaches and schemes for performing multi-modal adaptation for web applications. The GUIDE Framework is a software framework that can be installed on STBs and connected TVs. It integrates with web application environments (web browsers) and various kinds of UI technologies. The Framework is based on UI component integration technology from the PERSONA framework, relying on communication busses, and it hosts the GUIDE core components Input Adaptation, Multi-Modal Fusion & -Fission, Dialog Manager, Application-, User- and Context Model. The GUIDE toolbox consists of the Simulator (see section below) and a tool that automatically extracts an application model from GUIDE-enabled applications.

UIA - User Initialisation Application
UIA - User Initialisation Application

GUIDE partners developed a first version of the GUIDE user model. The user model is the basis for user simulation at design-time and UI adaptation at run-time. The model represents knowledge about the user’s impairments, his cognition, perception and motor capabilities and individual preferences. Basic data for this model has been collected in user trials and could already be extracted by cluster analysis. The GUIDE consortium is closely cooperating with other projects in the VUMS cluster (Virtual User Modelling & Simulation).

The consortium has furthermore developed several mixed-fidelity application prototypes for the user trials that took place in GUIDE. GUIDE reference applications where for example represented in paper-based and video-based prototypes. These screenshot designs and videos where shown in the focus groups with elderly test users, and they depicted animated user interfaces and actors that demonstrated multi-modal interaction. Besides the video- and paper-based prototypes, a new application was identified and developed as full functional software prototype. It integrates prototypes of user interface technology in the consortium (gesture recognition, speech recognition, remote control, avatars, etc.) and performs tests with the user in order to measure his capabilities, when he is using the system for the first time. This “User Initialisation Application” will become an integral part of the GUIDE framework and will be usable by all GUIDE-enabled applications.

Into this user initialisation application, initial versions of many of the actual UI components intended for GUIDE could already be integrated. This allowed receiving initial results on users interacting in different input and output modalities using real user interface technologies including video-based gesture recognition, multi-touch interfaces, a gyroscopic remote control, standard remote control for input and video rendering, speech synthesis and avatar rendering for output. Other user interface modalities have been simulated during the user tests.

As the GUIDE project is targeting at Web & TV applications and related platforms, the consortium has already started development on the Set-top box platform of partner Technicolor. A first version of a video-based anthropomorphic avatar on the STB has been realised, which makes use of existing decoder resources and provides a very efficient way of high-fidelity rendering on low-power CE devices. Further, the consortium has started to migrate the basis of the GUIDE framework to the STB platform. This basis framework is based on a bus architecture and can easily integrate various user interface technologies.

Finally, a first prototype of the GUIDE simulation tool has been developed. It takes as input user interface designs and allows developers to evaluate their designs with respect to various vision- and motor impairments. This means that the developer can perceive the user interface as if he had vision impairments, and he can assess how an impaired person can interact with the user interface layout (see picture right). The simulation is based on a virtual user, which exploits the GUIDE model.



  • José Coelho, Daniel Costa, Carlos Duarte, Pedro Feiteira, David Costa, "From low to High Fidelity Prototypes: Challenges when Developing for Elderly", in Proceedings on Developing Intelligent User Interfaces for e-Accessibility and e-Inclusion Workshop at Intelligent User Interfaces 2012 (IUI 2012), Lisbon, Portugal, 14-17 Feb 2012
  • Nádia Fernandes, Daniel Costa, Carlos Duarte, Luís Carriço, "Acessibility in dynamic Web TV applications", in Proceedings on Developing Intelligent User Interfaces for e-Accessibility and e-Inclusion Workshop at Intelligent User Interfaces 2012 (IUI 2012), Lisbon, Portugal, 14-17 Feb 2012
  • Jose Coelho, Carlos Duarte, Pedro Feiteira, Daniel Costa, David Costa, "Building Bridges Between Elederly and TV Application Developers", in Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Advances in Computer-Human Interactions (ACHI 2012), Valencia, Spain, 2012


  • Jose Coelho, Carlos Duarte, Pat Langdon, Pradipta Biswas, "Developing Accessible TV Applications", in Proceedings of the 13th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS 2011), Dundee, Scotland, 2011
  • Jose Coelho, Carlos Duarte, "The Contribution of Multimodal Adaptation Techniques to the GUIDE Interface", in Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (HCII), Orlando, Florida, USA, 2011
  • Daniel Costa, Carlos Duarte, "Self-adapting TV Based Applications", in Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (HCII), Orlando, Florida, USA, 2011
  • Carlos Duarte, Jose Coelho, Pedro Feiteira, David Costa, Daniel Costa, "Eliciting Interaction Requirements for Adaptive Multimodal TV based Applications", in Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (HCII), Orlando, Florida, USA, 2011
  • Pedro Feiteira, Carlos Duarte, "Adaptive Multimodal Fusion", in Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (HCII), Orlando, Florida, USA, 2011
  • David Costa, Carlos Duarte, "Adapting Multimodal Fission to User's Abilities", in Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (HCII), Orlando, Florida, USA, 2011
  • Pascal Hamisu, Gregor Heinrich, Christoph Jung, Volker Hahn, Carlos Duarte, Patrick Langdon, Pradipta Biswas, "Accessible UI Design and Multimodal Interaction through Hybrid TV Platforms: Towards a Virtual-user Centered Design Framework", in Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (HCII), Orlando, Florida, USA, 2011
  • Jose Coelho, Carlos Duarte, "Building Supportive Multimodal User Interfaces", in Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Supportive User Interfaces (SUI 2011) at the 3rd ACM SIGCHI Symposium on Engineering Interactive Computing Systems, Pisa, Italy, 2011


  • Carlos Duarte, Daniel Costa, David Costa, and Pedro Feiteira. "Support for inferring user abilities for multimodal applications". 4 Conferência Nacional Interacção 2010, page 2, 2010.


The project has received funding from the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under Grant agreement no.:248893


  • Technicolor Rennes

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