Maria McCormick
UX designer
Made with

UX Case Study: Empowering seniors to stay connected and active

About the project

Type: Academic & Individual.

My roles: UX Researcher and UX/UI Designer. 

Timeline: 7 weeks.

Description: Capstone project in which students pursue independent research on a problem of their choice.

Tools: Sketch, InVision, Principle and Zeplin. 

Deliverables: Paper Sketch, Low/Mid/ High-Fidelity Digital Wireframes, Hi-Fidelity Mockups, Empathy Diagram, Persona, Test Scripts & Results, Diagram task flow, Mood board and Marketing Website.

Platform: iOS

Overview
Research Findings: People over 65 years old

Research Findings: People over 65 years old

The Problem

Older adults experiencing loneliness and isolation find it difficult and frustrating to create fulfilling, trusting and supportive relationships within their local communities.

The Challenge

How might we improve the overall social life of elderly generation within their local communities?


The Target

  • Retired adult people (any gender)+ 65 years
  • Living in Ontario (non-residential care facilities)
  • Own a smartphone
  • Experiencing loneliness and isolation.

My Solution

A conceptual prototype of a mobile application that empowers seniors to stay connected and active by helping them to find social gatherings in their neighbourhood tailored to their needs.

Seniors would be able to book, share info with friends, manage favorites and receive reminders to ensure their attendance and engagement. 



The Process
Discover & Research
Understanding the nature of the problem through the lens of human-centered design
UX Case Study: Empowering seniors to stay connected and active

Why did I choose this problem? 


When we are told to choose among millions of possibilities, it’s always better to focus on what is aligned to our inner voice. I started by putting in a list all the recurrent problems I have observed in my life that needed to be solved as the positive impact would be wider.

I prepared a word graph and left my subconscious talks to me and it clearly came up with three major common topics: Isolation, loneliness and seniors.

As Canada’s largest population group, the baby boomers, approach the + 65 age range. 

As Canada’s largest population group, the baby boomers, approach the + 65 age range. 

Framing the problem space...

I started the discovery phase by reviewing available information from mental health institutions, Canada stats about seniors population, available programs that the Ontario government to support seniors in the Ontario province among others. 

Secondary Research

I summarized the finding in three key topics: Growing population, technology usage and mental health.

UX Case Study: Empowering seniors to stay connected and active
Target Audience

Target Audience

Project constraints...

Technological

  • Limited understanding of how older adults use smartphones
  • Adults use fewer apps and take longer to complete tasks
  • Unknown correlation between cognitive decline and smartphone use

Socio-Cultural

  • Concern about security risks associated with a mobile device
  • Ageism can influence elderly's attitudes regarding their role in society 
  • Cultural background influences elderly’s involvement on family matters and decisions.

User Research: Interviews

Due to the tight timelines I decided to do five remote interviews via WhatsApp and Skype, 30 min each interview and I multitasked recording the audio, asking questions and observing their reactions. 

I wanted to get a better understanding of ...

Social Connectedness

  1. Membership of clubs, part-time paid job, volunteering job
  2. Prefer communication medium 
  3. Frequency of visits from friends or relatives
  4. Willingness to get connected
  5. How are perceived the benefits of being active

Routines and active lives

  1. Regular day in their life
  2. Barriers/challenges to be more active and engaged with others
  3. How to get informed about all the events or activities in your neighborhood
  4. Willingness to participate in activities where they might teach others or be taught by others

Refine
Organizing the notes using affinity diagrams and empathy map to identify opportunities based on their pain points and motivations
Empathy Diagram - Participant 1

Empathy Diagram - Participant 1

Analyzing the interview insights


I collected qualitative and attitudinal data directly from the interviewees to find their pain points, behaviors and motivations.

I was able to understand seniors' experiences while managing their daily activities and overall social life within their local communities.

I have used two tools to find patterns in the chaos of having tons of information:

  • Empathy Map
  • Affinity Diagram

Most recurrent pain points by themes

Most recurrent pain points by themes

Pain points by themes

Summary of recurrent pain points I would potentially alleviate with my solution.

Social Connectedness

  • Frustrating to find volunteering or part-time paid jobs to keep active
  • Preference for in-person relationships 

Lack of Tech Knowledge

  • Low level of expertise to use the smartphones
  • To have recurrent questions about functionality on their phones because they forget instructions easily.

Entertainment

  • Activities offer in community centre are focused on children

  • Willing to spend time playing table games such as cards, scrabble among others.

Information needs

  • Get informed about activities and events in my neighborhood is frustrating 

  • Finding information about event in my neighborhood in social media apps is overwhelming. Seniors want to find:

    1. Free activities, workshops and events
    2. Part-time jobs
    3. Mentoring program 
    4. Places where to hang out 
    5. Clubs where to interact and connect with people with similar interests
    6. Short trips to parks and recreational activities.

UX Case Study: Empowering seniors to stay connected and active

Primary Persona: Betty Smith


Based on the interviews insights, I created the primary persona and secondary personas: Betty and John. 

The purpose of creating the persona was to focus on the goals of Betty, her individual’s characteristics and the attitudes she displays.

As a first stage to move to the ideation step  I sketched out an idea of how Betty may use a feature creating a storyboard and imagining Betty’s environment and how she would find a workshop, register in and attend to this activity with her friend.

Ideate
Proposing a solution to the problem which in some way disrupts the status quo.
UX Case Study: Empowering seniors to stay connected and active


Step 1: How Might We technique

  • I started by breaking my problem statement into smaller actionable pieces.
  • I was able to create a seed broad enough that there were a wide range of solutions but narrow enough that I had some helpful boundaries. 

Step 2: Turning assumptions into questions

My assumptions

  • Seniors are willing and motivated to be engaged with their communities

  • Older adults have a need to be socially connected with their communities to build relationships that are more fulfilling. 

  • Seniors' needs can be solved with/by providing them tools to get connected and active in their daily activities

turned into HMW questions

  • HMW improve the way seniors establish meaningful social networks and get engaged within their communities to do what they like the most?
  • HMW better connect seniors to help them coping with loneliness and isolation?
  • HMW increase the elderly people’s social interactions as well as giving them the social skills and opportunities to maintain good health and high levels of energy?

I came up with ...

How might we improve the overall social life of elderly generation within their local communities? 

Step 3: Hypothesis statements

It is a way for expressing assumption in testable form. That I aimed to either proven or disproven through prototyping and testing.

  • I believe that sharing valuable information about social events within their neighbourhood for seniors (65+) will motivate them to participate in those activities and engage with their community.
  • I believe that attending social events within the neighbourhoods for seniors  (65+) will create fulfilling, trusting and supportive relationships within their local communities.
  • I believe that providing a platform that manages events and reminders for seniors (65+) will increase social connectedness by helping them to ensure registration and attendance.

Step 4: Tackling the issues that would be alleviate

  • Matching Pain Points with potential features that would solve and would benefit directly to users.  

UX Case Study: Empowering seniors to stay connected and active
Userflows based on the core task flow.

Userflows based on the core task flow.

Prototype and Test
The moment of Truth

Digital Wireframes 

I followed the process in the creation of low, medium and high fidelity wireframes. The initial six screens became into seventeen screens once the full registration process interaction had been reflected in the Wireflow. 

Hi Fidelity Wireframes used to create the prototype

Hi Fidelity Wireframes used to create the prototype

UX Case Study: Empowering seniors to stay connected and active

Usability Testing


I performed five remote individual testing sessions via Skype and 2-round testing  in order to reveal usability problems. 

I applied changes to my wireframes after each round. I summarized the issues and mapped them in a graph to chose to top issues with higher user value and less effort in order to fix them within my time constraint. 

Summary of relevant insights that impacted the wireframes:

  1. Tab bar menu
  2. Filters bar 
  3. Welcome screen
  4. Search screen
  5. Onboarding process

UX Case Study: Empowering seniors to stay connected and active
UX Case Study: Empowering seniors to stay connected and active
Visual Identity

UI Design/Mood board

"Color is a power which directly influences the soul" - Wassily Kandinsky

I first started by creating my mood board having in mind that...

My brand embodies:

  • Belonging
  • Welcoming
  • Community
  • Social connectedness

My brand is

  • More summer than fall
  • More bright that neutral
  • More active than calm

UX Case Study: Empowering seniors to stay connected and active
UX Case Study: Empowering seniors to stay connected and active

Logo Conceptualization and Interactive Prototype! 

Why this logo?

  • When the sun shines people want to go out! Social connectedness
  • Sunglasses for protection, prevention, conservation… Seniors are more careful while enjoying the life
  • Sun rules natural life cycle … adult people have a role to perform in the society as well belonging
  • Sun shines for everybody, we are all part of a big community.

What about the app name? iGotit2

  • i: First person pronouns and also used in digital products such as iPhone.
  • Gotit evokes to “I already knew the thing before you told me”.
  • 2: Shortly way say too.

Product Marketing Website
UX Case Study: Empowering seniors to stay connected and active

Branding

I was looking to establish a sense of social connection with partners, small and bigger groups, diversity through sunrise colors and having fun with people.

My branding aims to

  • Connect with seniors to build the trust by clearly explaining what the app is for and how it works
  • Empower them to take control of their lives and have fun with friends
  • Convey a lifestyle such as spending time with friends, relatives, being active and independent.

Marketing Website (scroll down to see full site)

Marketing Website (scroll down to see full site)

Takeaways

What have I learned from this project?

  • Believe in the design process, it works
  • Be focused on user’s needs and pain points
  • Early interactions and testing with end users is crucial to confirm the hypothesis
  • Be open to receiving feedback, it makes UX designer stronger

What could be better?

  • Improve the information hierarchy as currently register/ like/ and share buttons all seem to be the same level of importance. The main goal for users is the find and book in events in their neighbourhoods
  • Attempt to place a call needs more improvements to meet standards with iOS design guidance
  • Look for a more consistent card organization layout, especially for the booking process. 

🎉 Thanks!


A big thank you to my partner for all the critiques and positive feedback, to the teachers, teacher’s assistants and my peer students for sharing all their knowledge gained from all different backgrounds!