The Background Story

The Background Story

The Background Story

My grandmother like many people her age loves her independence. She has spent most of her adult life fending for herself, so she finds it very difficult to ask others for help. I wondered whether there was a way for her to get the help she needs from her relatives without having to ask them directly.

My grandmother like many people her age loves her independence. She has spent most of her adult life fending for herself, so she finds it very difficult hard to ask others for help. I wondered whether there was a way to get the help she needs from her relatives without having to directly ask them for help.

My grandmother like many people her age loves her independence. She has spent most of her adult life fending for herself, so she finds it very difficult hard to ask others for help. I wondered whether there was a way for her to get the help she needs from her relatives without having to ask    them directly.

My grandmother like many people her age loves her independence. She has spent most of her adult life fending for herself, so she finds it very difficult to ask others for help. I wondered whether there was a way for her to get the help she needs from her relatives without having to ask them directly.

Research

Initial Research

Initial Research

First I conducted a series of interviews with a group of seniors and younger adults, to find out whether there was a connection between communication with younger relatives and seniors' ability to accomplish everyday tasks.

I found that main issue wasn’t seniors' ability to contact their family members, but knowing who to call and when. There also seemed to be a disconnect or lack of understanding between these two age groups. They didn't really understand each other's lives. 

First I conducted a series of 5 interviews with three seniors and two younger adults, to find out whether there was a connection between communication with younger relatives and seniors' ability to accomplish everyday tasks.

I found that main issue wasn’t seniors' ability to contact their family members, but knowing who to call and when. There also seemed to be a disconnect or lack of understanding between these two age groups. They didn't really understand each other's lives. 

First I conducted a series of interviews with a group of seniors and younger adults, to find out whether there was a connection between communication with younger relatives and seniors' ability to accomplish everyday tasks.

I found that main issue wasn’t seniors' ability to contact their family members, but knowing who to call and when. There also seemed to be a disconnect or lack of understanding between these two age groups. They didn't really understand each other's lives. 

Persona Creation

Persona Creation

Persona Creation

I used the information gathered from my initial interviews to create a user persona. I found that I could form a clearer picture of who I was designing for by using my own grandmother as a template.

I used the information gathered from my initial interviews to create a user persona. I found that I could form a clearer picture of who I was designing for by using my own grandmother as a template.

I used the information gathered from my initial interviews to create a user persona. I found that I could form a clearer picture of who I was designing for by using my own grandmother as a template.

It was easier to empathize with the target group if I created a story based on my own experience with someone I actually know. I then twisted and morphed that story to create a persona based on the interviews and other secondary research.

It was easier to empathize with the target group if I created a story based on my own experience with someone I actually know. I then twisted and morphed that story to create a persona based on the interviews and other secondary research.

My-Grandmother
Jean Archer, The Independent Grandmother,
75-85 years old
The Independent Grandmother, 75-85 years old
Jean Archer, The Independent Grandmother,
75-85 years old
Jean Archer, The Independent Grandmother,
75-85 years old

She likes to do things for herself, but she relies on her immediate family for help with everyday activities, like doctor’s  appointments and grocery shopping. She also owns a tablet, which she uses as an ebook reader or to speak with her long-distance relatives over Skype. 

Challenges
  • She contacts her children and grandchildren when they are busy and feels discouraged when they dismiss her. 
  • She feels frustrated when she has a task to complete but has to wait for another family member to be free.  
  • She does not like asking others for help, it makes her feel useless.

She likes to do things for herself, but she relies on her immediate family for help with everyday activities, like doctor’s  appointments and grocery shopping. She also owns a tablet, which she uses as an ebook reader or to speak with her long distance relatives over skype. 

Challenges
  • She contacts her children and grandchildren when they are busy and feels discouraged when they dismiss her. 
  • She feels frustrated when she has a task to complete, but has to wait for another family member to be free.  
  • She does not like asking others for help, it makes her feel useless.

She likes to do things for herself, but she relies on her immediate family for help with everyday activities, like doctor’s  appointments and grocery shopping. She also owns a tablet, which she uses as an ebook reader or to speak with her long-distance relatives over Skype. 

Challenges
  • She contacts her children and grandchildren when they are busy and feels discouraged when they dismiss her. 
  • She feels frustrated when she has a task to complete but has to wait for another family member to be free.  
  • She does not like asking others for help, it makes her feel useless.

She likes to do things for herself, but she relies on her immediate family for help with everyday activities, like doctor’s  appointments and grocery shopping. She also owns a tablet, which she uses as an ebook reader or to speak with her long-distance relatives over Skype. 

Challenges
  • She contacts her children and grandchildren when they are busy and feels discouraged when they dismiss her. 
  • She feels frustrated when she has a task to complete but has to wait for another family member to be free.  
  • She does not like asking others for help, it makes her feel useless.

Experience Mapping

Experience Mapping

Experience Mapping

Experience Mapping

This map shows how Jean plans a grocery shopping trip with her daughter. She calls her grandchildren while they are in class, and becomes discouraged when they don't answer. But it is her daughter who does most of the work even though she hardly has the time.

This map shows how Jean plans a grocery shopping trip with her daughter. She calls her grandchildren while they are in class, and becomes discouraged when they don't answer. But it is her daughter who does most of the work even though she hardly has the time.

This map shows how Jean plans a grocery shopping trip with her daughter. She calls her grandchildren while they are in class, and becomes discouraged when they don't answer. But it is her daughter who does most of the work even though she hardly has the time.

Experience Map 2

I decided to focus on schedule as the Core Epic of my prototype. I wanted to find a way for Jean and her close relatives to be more aware of each other's schedules and therefore their lives.

I decided to focus on scheduling as the Core Epic of my prototype. I wanted to find a way for Jean and her close relatives to be more aware of each other's schedules and therefore their lives.

Sketching

Sketching

Sketching

I wanted to create a layout where all of the information was big and simple.

Crazy 8's 

I wanted to create a layout where all of the information was big and simple.

Crazy 8s

These first sketches were loosely based on other family scheduling apps like Cozi and Google Calendar. Having the contacts column on the dashboard was inspired by Skype's layout. The idea was to see who is available for calling front and centre.

Initial Sketches

These first sketches were loosely based on other family scheduling apps like Cozi and Google Calendar. Having the contacts column on the dashboard was inspired by Skype's layout. The idea was to see who is available for calling front and centre.

Sketches v1
Sketches 2 Images

Sketching was a learning experience in rapidly exploring ideas, while also making the sketch understandable. It was more effective for me to combine paper sketches with digital wireframes.

The First Digital Prototype

The First Digital Prototype

The First Digital Prototype

I consider this my 4th sketch. I decided to remove the contacts column as seemed like too much information for one screen.

Prototype 2
What I learned through user testing...

Having a consistent fidelity is important. High fidelity images combined with a low fidelity layout can cause users to focus on the meaning of the image itself, rather than viewing it as a placeholder. 

The importance of distinguishing between buttons that users can interact with and indicators that inform the users of their location within or the state of the application.

 

What I learned...

 Having a consistent fidelity is important. High fidelity images combined with a low fidelity layout can cause users to focus on the meaning of the image itself, rather than viewing it as a placeholder. 

The importance of distinguishing between buttons that users can interact with and indicators that inform the users of their location within or the state of the application. 

The Second Digital Prototype

The Second Digital Prototype

My second attempt borrowed more heavily from Google's Material Design. I also looked at Air Bnb's date picker for inspiration. 

Prototype 2
What I learned...

That patterns exist for a reason, and there is no point in recreating the wheel. I assumed that I would have to create a whole new, simple interface based on my target demographic. It's much more sensible to edit and tweak existing patterns that have been tested and proven countless times, to suit the needs of specific customers.  

What I learned...

That patterns exist for a reason, and there is no point in recreating the wheel. I assumed that I would have to create a whole new, simple interface based on my target demographic. It's much more sensible to edit and tweak existing patterns that have been tested and proven countless times, to suit the needs of specific customers.  

What I learned...

That patterns exist for a reason, and there is no point in recreating the wheel. I assumed that I would have to create a whole new, simple interface based on my target demographic. It's much more sensible to edit and tweak existing patterns that have been tested and proven countless times, to suit the needs of specific customers.  

The Third Digital Prototype 

This is when everything changed...

The Third Digital Prototype 

This is when everything changed...

The Third Digital Prototype 

This is when everything changed...

When I tested my great aunt and 4 of her friends. 

While they understood the content of the screens, they weren't quite sure how to interact with the prototype. For example, some of those less familiar with touch screens were unsure of how to add a new event. They also couldn't tell which screen they were on right away. The material design highlight was much too subtle.

When I tested my great aunt and 4 of her friends. 

While they understood the content of the screens, they weren't quite sure how to interact with the prototype. For example, some of those less familiar with touch screens were unsure of how to add a new event. They also couldn't tell which screen they were on right away. The material design highlight was much too subtle.

When I tested my great aunt and 4 of her friends. 

While they understood the content of the screens, they weren't quite sure how to interact with the prototype. For example, some of those less familiar with touch screens were unsure of how to add a new event. They also couldn't tell which screen they were on right away. The material design highlight was much too subtle.

"Why change what works when it works?"

This was one tester's response when I asked whether they would use this app. According to them, the only reason they would use an app to communicate with their family, was if they were truly desperate and couldn't fend for themselves.

"Why change what works when it works?"

This was one tester's response when I asked whether they would use this app. According to them, the only reason they would use an app to communicate with their family, was if they were truly desperate and couldn't fend for themselves.

"Why change what works when it works?"

This was one tester's response when I asked whether they would use this app. According to them, the only reason they would use an app to communicate with their family, was if they were truly desperate and couldn't fend for themselves.

Prototype v3

One tester actually tried to "write" the name of the event into the text field instead of typing.

"It would be much easier to use a pen and paper" 

Ultimately they were more comfortable scribbling in their notebooks and calendars to keep their notes and schedules. 

My great aunt's calendar

Seeing my great aunt's calendar reminded me of what my target users were most comfortable doing...writing. 

"It would be much easier to use a pen and paper" 

Ultimately they were more comfortable scribbling in their notebooks and calendars to keep their notes and schedules. 

My great aunt's calendar

Seeing my great aunt's calendar reminded me of what my target users were most comfortable doing...writing. 

"It would be much easier to use a pen and paper" 

Ultimately they were more comfortable scribbling in their notebooks and calendars to keep their notes and schedules. 

My great aunt's calendar

Seeing my great aunt's calendar reminded me of what my target users were most comfortable doing...writing. 

calendar

Embracing the Feedback

Embracing the Feedback

Embracing the Feedback

Embracing the Feedback

Understanding that seniors may not use the app. 

I had to accept that seniors may not be willing to actually use the app. But their relatives could. This inspired the idea, to model Scribble after an app like Slack, where family members would be a part of a group. Seniors could be passive participants who receive notifications about group activities.

Understanding that seniors may not use the app. 

I had to accept that seniors may not be willing to actually use the app. But their relatives could. This inspired the idea, to model Scribble after an app like Slack, where family members would be a part of a group. Seniors could be passive participants who receive notifications about group activities.

Understanding that they may not use the app. 

I had to accept that seniors may not be willing to actually use the app. But their relatives could. This inspired the idea, to model the Scribble after an app like Slack, where family members would be a part of a group. Seniors could be passive participants who receive notifications about group activities.

Having a choice between writing and typing. 

The emphasis on writing that I received from my latest user test informed the decision to include handwriting and an input method for the app.

Having a choice between writing and typing. 

The emphasis on writing, that I received from my latest user test informed the decision to include handwriting and an input method for the app.

Having a choice between writing and typing. 

The emphasis on writing that I received from my latest user test informed the decision to include handwriting and an input method for the app.

Having a choice between writing and typing. 

The emphasis on writing, that I received from my latest user test informed the decision to include handwriting and an input method for the app. First I 

Keyboard_wireframes

Exploring a Visual Identity

Exploring a Visual Identity

Moodboard
Logo files

UI Library

UI Library

UI Library

Scribble UI Library

High Fidelity Prototype

The Final Prototype

Highfidelity_3

Key Takeaways

In the end, I am not so sure that Scribble is the right solution to this problem. In fact, I think it barely scratches the surface.

  • I think one of my user testers was right on the money when she said: "she would only use an app if she was desperate and couldn't fend for herself." So even if seniors used the app more passively to receive notifications about upcoming events, there are other applications like Google calendar that their relatives use regularly. They do a pretty good job of notifying relevant parties about events and reminders through notifications.  
  • So the main questions are: are there enough users willing to write on their tablet instead of their physical calendar? How do we make that process comfortable and familiar to those who prefer the analog over the digital?
  • So perhaps the next step in this process is to create an interface that resembles a physical calendar, where users could select the date and simply write the event onto this digital calendar. This action would then be shared with the entire family group. 

Key Takeaways

In the end, I am not so sure that Scribble is the right solution to this problem. In fact, I think it barely scratches the surface.

  • I think one of my user testers was right on the money when she said: "she would only use an app if she was desperate and couldn't fend for herself." So even if seniors used the app more passively to receive notifications about upcoming events, there are other applications like Google calendar that their relatives use regularly. They do a pretty good job of notifying relevant parties about events and reminders through notifications.  
  • So the main questions are: are there enough users willing to write on their tablet instead of their physical calendar? How do we make that process comfortable and familiar to those who prefer the analog over the digital?
  • So perhaps the next step in this process is to create an interface that resembles a physical calendar, where users could select the date and simply write the event onto this digital calendar. This action would then be shared with the entire family group. 

What I Learned

Ultimately this problem was small. It's a problem experienced by those in my family and echoed by a few others in my social group and the few others I interviewed. Is it actually scalable? I'm not too sure, but I did learn a lot about the techniques and best practices within UX design and how to apply my prior experiences with the creative process and problem solving to a new type of problem. 

What I Learned

Ultimately this problem was small. It's a problem experienced by those in my family and echoed by a few others in my social group and the few others I interviewed. Is it actually scalable? I'm not too sure, but I did learn a lot about the techniques and best practices within UX design and how to apply my prior experiences with the creative process and problem solving to a new type of problem. 

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