User Research,
User Experience Design,
Interface Design
February - March, 2017
with refinement in 2019
Familybookis a communication product designed for the elderly. It is trying to enhance the contact between two generations by providing more valuable common reminiscences.
Problem Space
As a non-profit project, the idea comes from a concept brainstorming on “death”. I made a mindmap about different aspects of death, which include the essence of death, where can it take place, death reasons and so on. From that brainstorming and light research, I sum up a good death with three key elements which include a good end-of-life care, a good memorial and a good understanding of the essence of death, experienced by two groups of people - the dead and their relatives involve.

For the next step, I come up with three briefs aiming to help modern citizens feel sooth to death. I evaluate them in four aspects - novelty, social benefit, economic benefits and feasibility. Hence, I choose the third briefs, which is offering a fresher old age by leading elderly people to positive memories and social relationship.
User Research
In the user research, I wish to answer these questions:

1. The elderly’s general living status: their current life, their problems, thoughts on the past, present and future

2. Social Relationship: what is the a typical social network of elderly people? What’s their attitude towards it? Do old people expect new relationship?

3. Communication: frequency, content, what they feel about it, things that make them happy/unhappy

To answer these questions, I selected four target users with different background as showing below. For the research method, I used structured interview to brief asked about the questions above. I also used social networking mapping and rapid ethnography to better understand their life.
My conclusions include three parts : what, why and how.

First of all, the what part, shown as below is the typical social network of the elderly people. They have small social circle. They have strong connection only to 3 to 4 people, who might possibly be their lover, children or neighbors. They not often communicate with their old friends or younger family members if they are far away. They also have little motivation to meet new friends.
The second part conclusion is why. Why do they behave like these and lacking social communication?

Here I made two boards, one for the old and one for the young to show their pains, gains and jobs related to communication. To sum up, the old find it hard to travel and live freely as young people but want to communicate with their family in their familiar ways. For the young, they wish to take care of their parents but have burden to frequently call and share their current situation. What they need is a more casual way for communication.

Finally, how can we solve the problem?

The research on the living circumstance of the elderly is helpful as it shows what possibly the media they are familiar with can be used to convey information. Also, I asked the old and the young about what kind of things they enjoy or don’t like to do. Things they love in common can be used for the next stage’s ideations.
Design Ideations
Based on the research results, I came up with three ideas, each of that comes from a media the old is familiar with and the functional requirements. The plan has to be low learning cost for the old, creating happy memory that gives both side of users motivation to use and can be widely used by family members and friends. Thus, plan C meets up with the demands most.
Interaction Wireframe

#Elderly People

Here are the user flow and hardware wireframe for the old side. It’s clearer and simpler than the young’s side. When designing the wireframe, I mainly took things below into considerations which are also shown in the wireframe below in red:

*Using voice and physical movement as input: the old are much more familiar with physical interaction as well voice interaction. I want the product to be easy to use and have low learning cost. So for the old users, they turn the game board to different page to switch the game and use their voice to invite and start a new game.

*Reduce decisions making times: the old are easy to forget things. Notifications like joining games requirements are designed to be shown when a game is finished, without bothering them while playing the game.

*Simple instruction and physical feedback: giving the old very simple instruction with color and lights in situations like showing where to find their game tools.

#Young People

Below is the wireframe of the application with red words showing first time consideration of building the wireframe:

1. Put the information in the order of how users care about them:
1) Put contact at the first place as user care more about people rather than games
2) Briefly shows the information of the game - how many people needed to play it and how long it takes to play

2. Smooth control : Rolling to turn voice / camera on and off

Once upon the wireframe is built up, I gave it to the young users for testing and the green words showing the feedback after user tests:

1. Users want to know how long the old have played the game
2. Users hope the collection of moments can be more smart
1) They could mark the moment during playing the game ( when users clicked emoji camera, it will record last 20 seconds story)
2) The moments are automatically generated in different categories.

Visual Wireframe