designing digital solutions for the active elderly
Duration and Team: 2 weeks with a team of 3 designers
Tools: user interviews, survey, comparative and competitive analysis, research, design studio, affinity mapping, personas, user journeys, storyboarding, wireframing, paper and digital prototyping, usability testing
Deliverables: click-through prototype of caregiver app, wearable prototype for seniors
RESEARCH AND DISCOVERY
Our survey shared general perceptions of Life Alert. The older demographic considered it a particularly useful product.
“I've seen the advertisement, "I've fallen and can't get up." It alerts someone when an elder needs help. What's not to like?” - Woman, age 55-64
The younger generation was more familiar with brand from the commercials and marketing efforts.
“Silly commercial, but necessary service.” - Man, age 22-34
There’s a popular assumption that older people are less inclined to adapt to newer technologies. However, we found that they were already actively adopting wearable technologies such as FitBit and that they were encouraged by the encouraging messaging from the product.
We also wondered if the elderly would be resistant to the involvement of caretakers and family members in their daily activities. However, we found that they were happy to have regualr contact with their family members about their health and wellness.
- Life Alert doesn’t include “Fall Detection” sensing, which adds to peace of mind and additional value to the product.
- Life Alert requires a 3 year minimum contract, while other companies operate on a month-to-month basis and are seen as more trustworthy, more flexible, and as an easier commitment to make.
DESIGN AND IDEATION
USER JOURNEY MAPPING
Our user journey of the experience with the existing Life Alert button highlights:
- the stigma and embarrassment of using the actual physical product.
- the positive impact that device ownership can have on the life and wellbeing of consumers.
- the opportunity for improvement and innovation in the product.
DESIGN STUDIO AND PROTOTYPING
Our approach was to expand the technological possibilities within the device and increase the value of the product for the elderly users, while also including a link for the caregivers and family members to be involved in the health and wellness of their loved ones.
As part of our ideation process, we created paper prototypes of both our wearable device and of the wireframes for our mobile application. The wearable device developed size, shape, and screen style through multiple iterations with usability testing and feedback from caregivers and elderly people.