Posts Tagged ‘elderly’

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”

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.

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!

Insights from elderly homes….

November 15, 2008

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week we visited 2 different elderly homes in Copenhagen to try and gain insight into their daily lives and how it could be improved focusing on the areas of social interaction, physical activity and autonomy. We spent the two days talking to elderly people who suffered from dementia and their carers and doing observations of their daily lives. On this post i am going to write up some of my notes from these two days, that we then went on to analyze. (for privacy reasons i have left out the names of people and the elderly home)


Day 1: Fredriksberg

  • Owned by a Methodist church and funded by the Fredriksberg Kommune
  • The manager has been there 23 years, he runs it with his wife, his son grew up there
  • There are 60 residents, 64 full time staff,each resident has their own carer for more personal tasks like washing and getting dressed. It is essential that there is a strong bond between the carer and resident. The carer will be changed until the resident feels comfortable with them.
  • Most residents have either had a stroke and have dementia.
  • Large focus on the communal areas and social activities
  • 30% of the residents die each year (this is well below average)
  • “our job is to give them their identity back, they need their identity to meet people, otherwise their is no point” (Manager)
  • In the first three or four months the residents decide if the want to live or or give up hope, there for during this time it is the sole objective of the home to make them happy, help them make friends and enjoy there time there.
  • “you can make a cold cup of coffee warm with a hug and a kiss on the cheek” When the residents are sad or frustrated they complain about things that aren’t true, during this time they need kindness ad affection that the staff will give them.
  • They make a huge effort to make sure the residents keep their independence, they have their own apartments that they bring their own furniture to , they take them of trips to parks, forests, other cities, other countries!
  • They staff know all about the residents previous life and experiences they have had, so that when the patients with dementia become frustrated, upset or angry they can calm with familiar and happy stories.
  • They have a special room called the “memory room’ It is filled with old artifacts and memories to help the residents remember old happy memories.


In the memory room

  • There is a physical therapy room which is brilliantly equipped that that the residents enjoy using but the machine are very over complicated and hard for them to design, the interface should be put to better use or encouragement etc.



Working out!

  • The patient don’t choose who they end up living with, so there personalities often clash and find it hard to make close friends
  • They all have different experiences from the outside world-these need to be taken into consideration more
  • The staff keep a diary of the residents to help the family know what they have been doing
  • The residents always need someone around otherwise they feel scared
  • “They give you a lot, its very rewarding, when i see them with a smile of their face i know i have done my job” (dementia specialist)
  • “It doesn’t matter if it’s a new house or an old house it’s the staff, it can be a big room or a small room it’s still the staff” (dementia specialist)
  • There i no strict schedule in the home,the residents can decide what they want to do, you have to judge every situation as it arises “Taking the temperature” (carer)
  • “We don’t notice it’s a nursing home, because we are all all alike, we do things together like a family”(Jospeph, Resident)


At the hairdresser

Day 2: Nørrebro

  • Strong connection to the Salvation Army and is supported by your Kommune
  • residents move in because they need 24hour care
  • you move your own stuff into your apartments, and can decorate it the way you want.
  • There is a big emphasis in the residents personal space, rather than the communal area, there is a very big contrast between them. The communal areas are very institutional.
  • One resident said “this is not a very good hospital, I’ve been here six months and i haven’t seen a doctor!” this shows her association with the home is a hospital.


Communical corridor looking like a hospital


In a personal Apartment

  • There 12 staff working during the day for 43 residents, only 2 at night
  • The staff never give up hope,they try to give the residents their individuality back.
  • They focus on their needs, gain their trust, and make sure they know its their home
  • Everyone’s rooms are very different, it is very important for people with dementia that they recognize it to be their own ‘home’
  • They have an old computer in the home at the moment that a few of the elderly use to play solitaire on it, they like it because it is similar to them but just in a new context. they know what to expect.
  • A lot of the residents have a heard of a computer, but they don’t know what it can do, but they are intrigued.


One of the residents looking at her photo’s on an iphone

  • Some of them are scared of using technology in case they do something wrong or embarrass themselves
  • The word media put a barrier between them, they don’t understand the ‘jargon’
  • The residents communicate with friends and family through the phone but are often limited because they need help from the staff
  • the residents are not all friends but they do take care of each other and know of each others needs, they build up their own social structures
  • When talking about bonds between the staff and residents,and when people die:

“sometime i want to cry, sometimes it’s a relief because i know the pain they have been through”

“some people do get a bigger part of your heart, its supposed to be professional, but you do get attached to people’

“It’s a professional job, they are not your family, but you still want to keep a family vibe”

After completing our insights we went on to analyze them to come up with need statements-see next post.