Posts Tagged ‘interaction deisgn’

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)