Prize-Winning Research Poster

A research-style poster about PIP Kit has won praise in an online university conference. The Faculty of Science, Agriculture & Engineering (SAgE) at Newcastle University held an Online Celebration of Research this week. The poster titled “How Can Lifelogging Help Disability Benefit Claimants?” won “Best Poster”, announced today 5th June 2020 during the conference’s online closing event and later publicly on Twitter.

Image of the poster "How Can Lifelogging Help Disability Benefit Claimants?"

The competition included 150 other posters from Newcastle University postgraduate researchers across the SAgE faculty.

Poster full text content

In addition to the image above, and as a PDF (660kB), the full text of the poster is reproduced below.

How Can Lifelogging Help Disability Benefit Claimants?

1. What’s the issue?

Assessments for disability benefits are often a difficult, embarrassing and distressing experience for claimants, made more difficult by their health conditions. Can technology make these processes more humane?

2. Potential impacts and benefits

As an integral part of the welfare state, 40-50 million working-age people in OECD countries receive support related to longer-term health conditions and disabilities.

Setting the level of benefit often involves reducing a multitude of conditions and effects into relatively few categories using approaches based on impairment, functional limitation, or disability. Often people are dependent upon the disability benefit to have a reasonable life, and the impact of gaining or losing an award is significant. Technology could make processes more inclusive, less complex, and help claimants recall how their conditions affect their daily lives improving their claims, which otherwise (D. Kahneman and J. Riis. 2012. Living, and thinking about it: Two perspectives on life. In The Science of Well-Being.) is prone to error an subjective.

We followed a case study approach which examined the UK process for disability assessments in obtaining a working-age adult benefit called Personal Independence Payment, abbreviated to PIP. Many people rely upon specialist advice agencies, who support them in articulating and documenting their experiences on the claim form.

3. Participatory co-design

We investigated the potential use of lifelogging (C. Gurrin, A. F. Smeaton, and A. R. Doherty. 2014. LifeLogging: Personal Big Data. Found. Trends Inf. Retr. 8, 1: 1–125.) (M. Harvey, M. Langheinrich, and G. Ward. 2016. Remembering through lifelogging. Pervasive and Mobile Computing 27: 14–26.) to assist people with disabilities capture and articulate a thorough description of true-life events. Firstly, we worked with advisors at one advice agency to identify constraints, clarify ethical issues and inform the design of a prototype called PIP Kit. Secondly, we then trialled the prototype with a small number of benefit claimants.

4. Prototype trials

Recollection of periodic events is necessary to make a disability benefit claim. The prototype PIP Kit provided daily diary record keeping, digital image capture and notes on documents and other supporting evidence to bring to the subsequent appointment with a benefits advisor, to complete the form collaboratively.

Claimants record their diaries in the period between registering a claim with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to receive the form, and an appointment with the advisor.

5. What was the impact?

We found the approach offered by PIP Kit helped ameliorate feelings of being overwhelmed, with claimants better able to grasp the purpose of the assessment questions. PIP Kit’s granularity also generated memory cues as conversation starters leading to building better arguments for their claims. We also identified some design principles, summarised above, for supporting disability benefits claimants with technological interventions.

Identified design considerations for disability benefits claimants:
A. Process simplification
B. Visual cues and photography C. Offer flexibility and control
D. Personal aesthetics

6. What’s happening now?

To enable PIP Kit diary use without any face-to-face interaction, an online-only service is being developed to help advisors and claimants generate, distribute, complete and share claim information.

Notes and links

This work was funded through the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Digital Civics at Open Lab, Newcastle University (EP/L016176/1). It was undertaken by Colin Watson, with supervision by Dr Ahmed Kharrufa and Dr Ruth McAreavey, in conjunction with Dr Reuben Kirkham (now Monash University). We are very grateful to Shelter for facilitating this research. Daniel Parry created the role characters and project video.

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