Archive for the ‘Graphical User Interfaces (GUI)’ Category

happyMail concept Video

December 2, 2008
A fun take on a concept video for our project ‘happyMail’
“Its a shame that the elderly do not benefit from the internet and email like we do, how do you bring back the JOY OF RECEIVING POST through email”

GUI final concept: Improving the elderly home experience

December 2, 2008

On completion of our user testing with the elderly people last week, our group decided to focus on our idea that helped aid ‘communication with the family’ We came away with from the elderly home with 3 very strong insights that really supported one of our idea’s we had tested:

“A device that allows the friends and family of the elderly to contact them easily through SMS messages and email. The elderly receives the ‘mail’ every morning from a device that displays their mail in the familiar context of receiving a letter. This will hopefully create less isolation from the family and make the elderly feel more involved in their lives. It allows friends and family to use quick methods of communication that they are used to using without imposing it on the elderly person”

The three insights that supported this idea were:

1. “receiving a letter is a wonderful experience” This quote came from a lady who loved receiving letters from her family. She said she checked her mail everyday and when she received a letter is was the most wonderful feeling for her. However she mainly only received letters from family who lived further away and were requesting her to come and visit them.

2. “Family are the center of the elderly people’s lives” The people within the elderly people like meeting new people and socially interacting within the home, but their real joy comes from their family. They look forward to seeing them for visits, talking to them on the phone, or receiving a letter for them. Their family are hugely important in their lives and day to day motivations.

3.“informal email service” Currently in one of the elderly homes their is an informal email service, where family and friends of the elderly can email the staff messages and photos and they will print them out and give them to the elderly people.

As a group we felt that it was a great shame that the elderly do not benefit from the form the internet and email like we do. So our core aim and value we wanted to create for the elderly was

“how do you bring the joy of receiving a letter back into an email”

and our result………..



A touch screen device that allows elderly people to receive emails and SMS messages from family in a familiar context. We have strongly used the mental model of receiving, reading and writing letters throughout our concept. The home screen for the device is a writing table where letters will accumulate when you receive mail. The visuals and sizes of the mail illustrates the content. For example:

A letter on the desktop is a normal email.
A package on the desktop would be an email with a photo attachment
A note on the desktop would be a SMS message

We also added an address book as the entry point to writing new messages, and a storage box function where you can store old ‘letters’ Throughout the design we tried to keep the language and symbols very familiar to the elderly, using strong metaphors and mental models that we felt they could easily understand and relate to.

The presentation below is from our final critique, but also shows each interface of the device as well, which will hopefully make the concept a little clearer! A will post up our concept video too in a separate post…

Final Presentation with Interface designs


your granny’s mail


the email you sent your granny


options screen


user scenario (beautifully drawn by sid)

more GUI notes…

December 1, 2008
  • Always remember FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION
  • Human centered design differs from technology centered design due to the emphasis on the stakeholder

The three moments of truth

1. What consumers see’s on the shelve

2. When they first try the product

3. When the product experience catalyzes an emotion, or makes them want to talk about the product experience.

  • The Bandwagon effect: When people do or think because other people are…e.g

“Windows PC’s must be better than Macintoish computers because more people buy them”

  • Aesthetic-Usability effect: Users perceive more aesthetically pleasing designs to be easier to use.
  • Expectation effect: Perception and behavior changes as a result of personal expectations
  • ‘Expectation effect’ + ‘Aesthetic -Usability effect’ + exploring interfaces = lowering the learning curve when using a user interface
  • Usability is the ease in which people can employ a particular tool or human made object to achieve a goal
  • Flexibility-Usability trade off: A product that has lots of features in one place which is very convenient and flexible will work less efficiently, and have a lower usability value than a specialized tool with one feature.

Design hierarchy of needs

1.CREATIVITY: All needs have been satisfied and people begin interacting with the design in innovative ways.
The design is now used to create and explore areas that extend both the design and the person using the design

2. PROFICIENCY: Empowering people to do things better than they could previously

3. USABILITY: How easy and forgiving a design is to use

4. RELIABILITY: Stable and consistent performance. Erratic +frequent failure =low value

5. FUNCTIONALITY: basic functionality must be made or extra design features will have no meaning or low value

User Testing with the elderly…

November 25, 2008

Some results from our user testing of the idea we are currently developing….

Testing the Iphone

November 23, 2008

If you have read any of my previous posts you will know that for the last few weeks we have been doing a project based around elderly people living in nursing homes, with the main aim to improve their everyday experiences. The project is part of our GUI (graphical user interface) module, so the product or service that we implement will have a GUI. While we were doing our initial user testing on friday we decided to test the iphone on an elderly person,as touch screens can be very powerful when it come to designing a GUI. We wanted to see how they would react to it, and if they could physically use it. Our findings were……




  • She understood the sliding mechanism to flick through the pictures-It was intuitive.
  • She could slide to unlock the  phone with the sliding mechanism, was a little small though for her
  • She enjoyed flicking through the pictures using the sliding mechanism.
  • she found it hard to use the icons because she was pressing them like a button, but wasn’t getting feedback, so she wasn’t taking her finger of the screen, so therefor it wasn’t opening the application, it needs to instantly open when she touches it.
  • She understood the photo symbol and calculator symbol on the dashboard and managed to use them
  • she commented about the calculator “I used to have one of these for when i went shopping, to calculate the prices” (so it was familiar to her even though it was in a new context)
  • She was a little heavy handed, everything just needed to be a bit bigger and give more responsive feedback so she new she was doing it correctly.
  • She was curious about the ‘home’ button, and could use it fine!

All in all it was very positive,i think elderly people could use a touch screen, if the GUI was simle enough and had familiar contexts to what they are used to. A key factor is that they need to gain that feedback to know they are doing something as they don’t have the feeling you get when using a physical button.

Good GUI notes…(mainly for my record!)

November 23, 2008


a lovely GUI (graphical user interface)

Things for me to remember and consider for when designing a good GUI:

  • group elements together
  • think of primary and secondary actions
  • The 80/20 % rule (normally only 20% of a UI is used)
  • Affordances: Physical and digital constraints
  • Use familiar symbols (think of desktop metaphor)
  • Scaleability and flexability
  • The user must feel comfortable:you need a clear sense of ‘home’, always allow undo, always make an easy way out, progress bars
  • The interface and task always belong to the USER!

user scenario’s and prototyping for the elderly

November 23, 2008

At the end of Tuesday this week we had come up with ten ideas that we believed would benefit the experience of the residents or staff within an elderly home. Our ideas were based on the insights we had gathered the week before in a number of homes Across Copenhagen. To progress with the project our next step was to cut down our ideas so we could map the ideas out in user scenarios and test and gain feedback from the elderly. It was an extremely hard task but we managed to decided on 3 ideas to take further. Our decisions were made by taking the ideas that we felt had the strongest value to the user and would provide a beautiful experience, that could then be applied to a familiar context for them.


Initial Scenario building for the concepts



Further developed scenario’s with context frames, and UI close ups

Idea 1: The grounding device is predominantly for the elderly that have memory loss or dementia, it provides the user with a grounding by telling them the day and date as well as happy memories and events from the past and milestone events in the future. This will allow the elderly to be nostalgic, and help with loneliness and memory loss.


Idea 2: A device that allows the friends and family of the elderly to contact them easily through SMS messages and email. The elderly receives the ‘mail’ every morning from a device that prints their mail so it is in a familiar context to them.  This will hopefully create less isolation from the family and make the elderly feel more involved in their lives. It allows friends and family to use quick methods of communication that they are used to using without imposing it on the elderly person.


Idea 3: A digital encyclopedia specific to an elderly home. The device would be used as a tool by the carers to show residents photo’s to help jog memories, connect other patients together and new residents could use it to see if there are new people in the home. We hoped that would act as a bridging tool for social interaction and foster community spirit!


Initial paper prototypes for user testing and feedback

Above are the paper prototypes we built for our initial user testing, these were used on Friday to get user feedback. We discussed and demonstrated the ideas through ‘scenario walk throughs’ and let the staff and residents play with the prototypes, it was great talking to them as it sparked a little co-creation too with them providing us with some great ideas! All in all a great morning!

I’l post more on the user testing when it is all collated and presented!

Have a lovely Sunday!

GUI applications for the elderly

November 18, 2008

Yesterday at CIID we started our new GUI (Graphical User Interfaces) block. During the next two weeks the main foucs will be a hands on approach through a user centered development process for a GUI concept. The course is being taught by Alex Wiethoff (CIID) and Neils Clausen-Stuck. Neils worked as a senior interaction designer at IDEO for 7 years up intill joining Kontrapunkt in 2008.

The course will be broken into two, with Half being a series of short exercises and lectures that will look into key aspects, contexts, history, applications and limiting factors that influence the design of GUI and the other half will be developing a concept with an application specific GUI that offers value in the elderly care space. The ideas that we develop will be based on the insights we gained last week whilst doing user research in elderly homes around Copenhagen.

Why are we designing for elderly care?

“Creating a concept with an application specific GUI for an elderlycare context with multiple user groups (patients, doctors, nurses, visitors) with their respective information needs represents an interesting basis for the students to create highly tailored and relevant interfaces for a demanding target group.  The students will have to develop, design, prototype tools and experiences that have impact and show empathy towards the different user groups needs and contexts” Course Syllabus

Yesterday we kicked of this GUI block with a very informative lecture of the history of GUI. One area that really stood out for me were the core aspects to consider when you want to create a GUI that will provide value to the end user,  these were….

Accessibility and Usability


Visual design

The learning Curve for the user

The Interaction paradigm, the metaphor that will create the mental model

Brilliant points to always remember!

After a little history we were given an overview of typology of GUIs, i especially loved this example..

Over the course of yesterday afternoon and today we have gone back to our user insights from last week and found the real opportunity areas, created brainstorming topics in the form of “how might we” statements, (“how might we support the staff to help them create the best possible care experience”) had several huge brainstorming sessions, and have now decided on 10 ideas to develop further…..and of course we could not have done it without the trusty post-its!


voting for our opportunity areas


our “how might we” statements


brainstorming, brainstorming, brainstorming


10 ideas to develop

For the next two days we will be developing and prototyping our initial ideas and then on Friday we will take them back to the elderly homes to gain feedback from the residents and staff for further development!