Case Studies

poMOST – application for seniors

Idea

poMOST (Bridge) is an application whose purpose is to connect the elderly who find it difficult to perform mundane tasks, with volunteers, who would provide ad hoc support in performance of specific tasks, such as shopping, transportation to a doctor, purchase of prescription medicines, etc.

The application allows a senior to send a request for support in specific tasks. Volunteers can see the requests in an area in which they are currently present with the location option and can apply to perform a specific job.

The aim of our work was to test the market needs for the product, validate the particular target group and verify if the elderly are able to use the application in its original form.

Motivation for founding the project

The main motivation for the creation of the product was app’s creator deep desire to help the elderly. Our client wanted to create a solution that will support seniors in carrying out activities which they struggle with on an everyday basis.

In addition, the purpose of the application was to open a group of seniors to young people living in their area and support neigbouring relationship.

The target group

Product recipients are the elderly, over 65 years of age, but who have access to the technology on a daily basis and use such devices as computer or touchscreen phone.

Target group objectives/Tasks

  • The target group wants to be supported in everyday, small tasks
  • They would like to have someone at hand who will respond to their reques
  • They want to have confidence in the person they ask for help
  • They do not want to be reluctant about asking for help

Problems

  • Due to age, the target group finds it difficult to perform daily activities.
  • It lacks people they can ask for help in sorting a mundane issue.
  • The group is reluctant to ask for help
  • It is reluctant to establish relationships with younger people.
  • It is reluctant to trust strangers
  • It is reluctant to use touchscreen technology/applications

Alternative solutions

The term alternative solutions means all of the tools, methods, actions, or behavior patterns that allow the target group to solve their problem:

  • Asking neighbors for help
  • Asking family and friends for help

Value proposition

The application provides support for the elderly giving them the possibility of obtaining help in small household chores from another person.

In addition, it gives them a possibility to meet people from their surrounding area and establish neighborly relations. It connects people from different generations and it is an excellent introduction to solid friendship and exchange of experiences between generations.

The purpose of the experiment

The most critical assumption concerned the existence of the problem for the particular target group, because the aim of the experiment was to identify daily activities that seniors, who effectively use the technology, struggle with.

Ideas for the experiment

  • Focus studies in the group of elderly people that keep in touch with one another
  • Dyads with seniors in which both people are strongly related (spouses or close friends)
  • Individual interviews with seniors
  • Shadowing of an older person (observation of their everyday life, behavior)

Selected experiments

  • Individual interviews with seniors (6 interviews)

Time limit for completion

1 sprint – 1 week

Schedule

  • Monday – objective: action plan and recruitment of people for testing:
  • Preparation of announcements encouraging participation in the study
  • Contact with the active senior assciation/third age universities
  • Preparation of the interview scenario
  • Arrange appointments with 6 test subjects
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday – objective: to conduct interviews with all of the respondents:
  • Interviewing
  • Friday – objective: analysis of interviews:
  • analysis of interviews
  • drawing conclusions

Conclusions

People from a selected target group have not indicated any activities that they were struggling with. The fact is that because of their age, the elderly may struggle with daily activities such as shopping or going to the post office.

While the selected group of seniors that use the technology on an everyday basis:

  • is independent enough not to need additional support and is not interested in asking strangers for help.
  • they appreciate their efficiency
  • they want to help and support the sick and disabled themselves

Project summary and recommendations

In the course of subsequent experiments, we verified further hypotheses. We checked:

  • readiness of the test group to ask for help
  • attitude towards strangers
  • difficulties encountered when using touch devices
  • ways of application use.

We have learned that technologically active seniors are not inclined to ask for help, neither friends, nor family. These are persons that emphasize their independence, who do not want to admit that one day they will also be in need of such support.

There has also appeared an issue with the form of the system itself. Even among seniors who use the technology, the concept of application does not exist. Senior citizens did not used to use such solutions and stressed that the use of touchscreen phones is inconvenient for them.

The help alone they treated as something mutual, they not only wanted to be offered some help, but helping was also valuable for them.

Obtained knowledge has allowed us to recommend the following solutions:

  • Change of the target group and business model
  • Designing the system which would allow to reach seniors who require care and are not familiar with the technology, such as: using the special contact telephone number which would then redirect the message to volunteers, or a system in which neighbors report a person who needs help and support from a volunteer
  • Test of the system based on mutual assistance in which both the volunteer and the senior can help and get help
  • Change of entry model to the system – the elderly would have to have someone who would help them become familiar with this system and would teach them how to use it, so that they can themselves offer help or ask for it.

Project team, i.e. who was responsible for what

Author of the Case Study

Katarzyna Smoleń Lean UX Designer & Researcher at Project: People
She works on UX and strategic projects on a daily basis, where she conducts research, verifies ideas for new products or services and creates business strategies. She believes that good UX is a support for business and works strongly for it. She is an advocate of an agile approach (especially lean) to design. Co-author of Experiment Sprint Canvas and Personal Development Canvas. Privately a fan of ballroom dancing.

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