Problem Space Research

The theme of this project was “doing good”with the help of assistive technology and it was aimed at improving the life of elderly people in England.

At first we started by performing a literature review and brainstorming on current known issues that elderly people experience. The gathered findings were then put on a mind map that helped to identify the key areas that we could focus further.
These were:

  • Memory
  • Mobility
  • Hearing
  • General health
  • Eye sight

Additional raw information has been collected by performing preliminary interviews with elderly people and domain experts. An affinity diagram helped in restructuring the data and narrowing down the focus. Mobility that turned out having most impactful consequences and were considered as the problem space.

User Research | Interviews

Interviews took place in Halesworth where a total number of nine elderly people were invited to participate, both men and women.

Each semi-structured interview took 45 minutes. The questions were aimed at identifying what frequent activities do these people do, hobbies, their exposure to technology, their experience of walking, falls and other difficulties they might be struggling with. Interviewees have also been asked to sign a consent form. Both qualitative and quantitative data has been collected that has further been taken for an analysis.

Data Analysis

Interviews were transcribed, coded and oraganized for understanding the common issues as well as identifying the most severe pain points.

Building an empathy map helped in visualizing people’s experiences and motivations about what they say, do, hear, think and feel. The aggregated data has then been used for building a persona. This technique helped in further stages of design because it represented a large user group and in the same time was virtually a person, thus making it easier to design for.

User Requirements and needs

Establishing the pain points for each person made it possible to define the common user needs and requirements. The information has been assembled and sorted in a spreadsheet. As an additional grouping technique for interview data we used a diagram of possible solution spaces on which we plotted quotes from users.

The findings were ploted on a 2X2 matrix based on two sets of criteria: indoor vs outdoor and body vs environment. This allowed us to identify the opportunity space in the quadrant between outdoor and environment, as in this space we couldn’t find almost any technology for elderly people, except those targeted on a specific limiting user group as blind people. This domain has been selected as a focus for further investigation and design considerations.

We identified three main factors (outdoor, environmental) that case falls. These are: weather, slippery surfaces and trip hazards.

Design

Parallel design technique was applied for developing concept sketches that showed different approaches on helping in falls prevention. We came up with a total of 15 different concepts.

After discussing them within the group we did several interviews with the users asking for their feedback about:

  • Shape
  • Material
  • Colors
  • Symbols
  • Ways of Interaction

The interviewees were additionally shown storyboards that described user journey in the weather notification scenario. This was helpful in explaining the concept.

Design

Ideas were plotted on a diagram and compared based on the feedback. Next, we have built two prototypes with different look and feel: a rectangular and a round wrist device.

Evaluation

The developed designs were evaluated by conducting user tests. We have considered different use cases and simulated scenarios both during the day and at night.
My contribution was in:

  • Developing evaluation scenarios
  • Personally conducting user tests
  • Gathering users feedback
  • Video Recording
  • Assisting in simulation of scenarios
  • Gathering evidence about hazardous places

Concept Video Making

The proceess of product creation was visualized through a video. My contribution at this stage consisted of:

  • Developing evaluation scenarios
  • Personally conducting user tests
  • Gathering users feedback
  • Video Recording
  • Assisting in simulation of scenarios
  • Gathering evidence about hazardous places

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Project Datasheet

Keywords
  • wearables
  • haptic feedback
  • user-centred design
  • elderly care
Applied Skills

User Research

Sketching

Storyboarding

User Testing

Videomaking

Project Length
Sept–Dec 2015
Context
University College London (UCL) EIT Digital Masters School, HCID Design Practice Module.