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Connectica

An application to cater loneliness in later life!

iOS ∙ RESEARCH ∙  VISUAL DESIGN ∙ ACCESSIBILITY

OVERVIEW

It is an application which is designed to cater loneliness in later life, i.e., for people above 50 years of age. Loneliness is an important factor for determining physical wellbeing of people and can have negative impact on the quality of life. Hence, 'Connectica' will help elderly to find similar minded friends,  exchange thoughts, perform activities and maintain connection with own families. This will ultimately help elderly maintain their physical as well as mental well being and quality of life.

MY ROLE

UX Design Research, UXD Process, Prototyping, Visual Design, UI Design, Style Guide, Interaction Design, Accessibility for Elderly.

PROJECT DURATION

12 weeks: September 2020 - December 2020

TEAM

Shivani Sonawane, Derek Kong, Yinkai Liao

TOOLS USED

Figma , Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop

ADVISER

Dr. Chris Creed, Prof. Robert Sharl

Background research

BACKGROUND RESEARCH

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Loneliness & isolation...

-A person can be isolated but not feel lonely.

-But a person who is surrounded by people but can still feel lonely.

-It’s about meaningful interactions; not no. of people a person knows.

Loneliness in England...

-1.4 Million people - aged 50 and over – Chronically Lonely – 2016/2017

-2 Million people - aged 50 and over – Chronically Lonely – 2019/2020

-43% increase in just 3-4 Years

WHAT CAUSES LONELINESS?

NOBODY TO TALK /SHARE FEELINGS
IF THE PERSON IS 
WIDOWED
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POOR HEALTH CONDITIONS
FEELING OF ESTRANGEMENT
UNABLE TO DO WHAT THEY FEEL
LIVING ALONE & WITHOUT FAMILY
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‘More than 60% of people worry about the stigma of mental health problems and may not even seek help!’

WHY THE AWARENESS IS IMPORTANT?

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THE PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE SUFFEREING FROM LONELINESS IS INCREASING RAPIDLY

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IT'S HARD TO STAY AWAREABOUT THE NEGATIVE SIDE EFFECTS OF THIS SILENT KILLER

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IT MAY CAUSE OTHER SERIOUS HEALTH ISUUES IF NOT TRIGGERED EARLY

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UNKNOWINGLY MENTAL ILLNESS FURTHER AFFECTS OUR DAY TO DAY LIVES.

“More than one million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbor or family member.”
-NHS, uk

As a human, It made us think deeply about the increasing percentage of loneliness in the elderly people and their effects on their physical well being. We were disappointed that most of the people can not even realize that they are having some mental health issues…!

BUT...IT IS PREVENTABLE & NOT INEVITABLE...!
User rquirements

USER REQUIREMENTS

User Personas

Three personas were created, whereby each having various age, backgrounds and causes of loneliness.  Each persona is having different needs, goals as well as frustrations. Creating these personas allowed us to focus on a concluded version of a real-life target audience to design with a human-centered approach.

Key Findings: Target audiences can be the people with wide range of age, backgrounds, careers, goals, fears, needs, goals, priorities etc. Hence, designing for all is extremely important.

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Empathy map for Tired Tim

THINKS/ FEELS

  • There is nothing to do

  • I am a burden on my family

  • What children must be doing now

  • I wish I could spend more time with grandchildren

  • Staying alone at home is very sad

  • I really want to enjoy like I used to do earlier

  • Having something to look forward to in a week feels great

  • Why I am feeling like this

  • May be because I don’t have anyone to talk to, It’s very lonely

  • I want to learn something new

  • I can’t do anything because of health issues

  • I don’t belong here

  • It’s difficult to stay in touch with old friends. Some of them live away

  • Children might be busy in their own life. I should not bother them

HEARS

  • ”Hi! I am busy at the moment dad, can I call you later?”

  • ”Hi dad, Sorry it’s very late how..almost 11.30PM here, can we talk tomorrow? I am tired..love you!”

  • ”Hey Tim, you should try to stay active”

  • ” You are so old now…”

  • ”You won’t understand how to use it”

  • ” How can you learn that at this age?”

SEES

  • Young people doing so many things

  • Rush outside the house

  • News feed

  • People at this age spending time with their loved ones

  • Friends being active in day-to-day life

  • Photos of grandchildren growing old

  • Messages from children and friends

  • YouTube videos

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SAYS/ DOES

  • ”I don’t have anyone to talk to”

  • ”People whom I know won’t understand how I am feeling”

  • ”My daughter lives in another country”

  • ”Whenever my son visits me with my grandchildren, It makes my day”

  • ”Lockdown is very hard. I can’t do anything”

  • ”I wish I could meet other people like me”

  • ”I think future is all about young generation, technology has improved a lot”

  • ”I miss my wife”

  • ”Sometimes I don’t talk to anyone for more than a month”

  • ”I don’t like to bother my children as they must be lonely in their own life”

  • ”I have to do all the things alone”

  • ”I many times don’t feel like doing anything throughout the day”

  • ”Talking to people or meeting someone feels good”

  • Sits alone on the chair

  • Constantly thinks about something if has nothing to do

Experience map for Tired Tim
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CONCLUSION: People feel lonely if they do not engage themselves in some activities or conversations.

Scenarios and HTA diagrams

Following the creation of of the personas, five scenarios were created to inform the development and layout of the application. One scenario in particular having an impairment for the purpose of exploring accessibility. HTA diagrams for each scenario were also created for process intentions.

Key findings: Scenarios allows for deeper thinking around the most efficient ways users can complete tasks within the application.

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Conclusion

CONCLUSION

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Social isolation causes loneliness in elderly people. Which ultimately decreases quality of life and hence, technology can be used to increase the social interaction for such people.

TECHNOLOGY & ELDERLY

“Smartphone usage in the United Kingdom has increased across all age ranges since 2012, most noticeably among those aged 55-64 years of age. Whereas just 9 percent of those aged 55 to 64 years of age used a smartphone in 2012, that number rose to 80 percent by 2019”


-Statista.com

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THE
CHALLENGES

HOW MIGHT WE...

Make a use of technology to help elderly connect each other and make new friends?

Help elderly and lonely people to have meaningful conversation and to stay in touch with their loved ones ?

Encourage elderly to be active and take care of their mental health?

Make the platform secure and trustworthy for them?

Comparative analysis

COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS

After analyzing various applications (which are designed to cope up with loneliness and other mental health problems) such as:

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TALK LIFE
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TALKSPACE
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WYSA
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HEADSPACE

we discovered that the main functions of these apps are based on the Chatbots, which are:

-Artificial Intelligence softwares used for initiating a conversation & interaction with the user. 
-A virtual person(software) behind it
-people are not able to make new real connections with other people.

We also studied about usability of existing socializing platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Zoom, Facetime, Instagram, Skype etc., We understood that even though the number of elderly using technology has increased in the recent years, Media networks which are used by the largest number of people,

-have much less impact on the elder people
-Does not satisfy the needs of elderly. 
-security and privacy are other main concerns about these networks.

Age Uk has Identified 3 ways to reduce loneliness and isolation in later life…

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TO SUPPORT & RETAIN EXISTING RELATIONS REMOTELY DURING PANDEMIC
TO FOSTER & ENABLE NEW SOCIAL CONNECTIONS & MAINTAIN THEM OVER TIME
TO HELP PEOPLE CHANGE THEIR THINKING ABOUT EXISTING SOCIAL CONNECTIONS
Design solution

DESIGN SOLUTION

We realized the fact that only having a conversation with chatbots won’t help elderly as meeting and talking to new people, staying in touch with the family & loved ones, and keeping themselves busy with activities are the key points for their escape from loneliness. Hence, an idea is to design an app which will help them socialize even during this pandemic.

Brainstorming & mind-mapping