Finding a need

After we had returned from our visits to the nursing homes, our next task was to collate all our insights, stories, quotes and photo’s to find areas that we felt needed to be addressed.

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before we organized!

Because we had so much information and data is was a large task so we came up with four focus areas that we thought there was a need to look into. These were:

Integration of technology in the lives of the elderly

Communication tools

Personal Identity and social Interaction

Sense of ‘Home’ vs. ‘Institution’ and space for social activity

With these four areas in place we mapped all our insights into one of these headings and started to look for specific needs. We created a ‘need statement’ for every section and with every ‘need statement’ we backed it up with photo’s, stories we had heard and quotes. We also identified our Ultimate goals, opportunities, problems and further area’s of focus.

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Our four need statements we developed were:

“Common spaces need to express the same feeling of “home” as the private spaces do”

“Genuine friendships between residents based on shared interests, experiences and personalities”

“Better tools to facilitate communication with friends, family and life in the outside world”

“Need for digital devices designed for aiding the elderly in a variety of daily tasks and activities

These statements were all developed around the topics above that i discussed (problems, opportunities etc.) but for this post i will just talk about one need in more detail:

Focus Area: Communication

Need Statement:“Better tools to facilitate communication with friends, family and life in the outside world”

Relating Needs: More autonomy to communicate, Computers/communication devises that doesn’t look like computers, Education about email, mobile, phone (or can we design devices that are very easy/intuitive to use) Better access to news and current affairs.

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User Evidence:

”I am content about everything. My only worry is why my granddaughter doesn’t contact me”

”I have a son in Atlanta but I have to save money to call him”

”My only daughter lives in London and I never see her but I talk to her on the phone on Saturdays”

Ultimate Goals: Feel less isolated, Included in family lives and society as a whole, Become more comfortable with technology in general.

Opportunities: Video calls – being able to connect voice to face e.g. see grandchildren grow, Share/receive photo´s to get an insight of their daily lives, Pre-setup skype device for the elderly, Communicate with other residents who have speech/expressive problems, No interrupted communication between the elderly and the family, Use physical/ambient devices to show how people are feeling in other countries/cities/homes.

Problems: Families neglect elderly, They don’t have access to the internet, They are limited by physical constraints, Phone calls are too expensive, Staff has no time to teach new things.

Where do we go from here?

The following are more specific focus areas that will be looked into for more research and development

Space and Communal areas: Analyzing trends of use and activity in different spaces to help staff optimize their use

Social: A formal process for facilitating the creation of new social clubs based on the skills and interests of the residents

Communication: Easy to use communication tools incorporating what people use on the outside world, such as a networked objects

Use of Technology: Using technologies to create joyful and satisfying alone time e.g. Personalized memory games

Next we will be taking our insights on to our Graphical User Interface investigation to develop and prototype ideas!


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