Problem: Senior citizens had difficulty to interact with mobile technologies and the current market is developing mobile applications based on younger generations.
Solution: The project – responsive web application aims to address the needs of senior users through learning mobile technologies. It will provide insight into new opportunities for “senior-friendly design.”
September 2015 – Present
Technology is firmly embedded in youth culture. Countless marketing campaigns show smiling 20-year olds using technology for work and play. Unfortunately, these campaigns ignore a growing segment of the US population, senior citizens. As our elderly population increases, so does the need for better tools to help them remain healthy, active, and engaged in their communities. The tangible and intangible benefits that assistive and mobile technology can provide – for example, helping users manage chronic illness or decreasing social isolation.However, the benefits of technology can seem inaccessible to ‘outsiders.’
Hopefully, more attention should be paid to creating opportunities for seniors to design efficient and convenient user experiences. It is essential to consider the emotional and psychological effects on senior citizens as they interact with and use new technologies. TechSenior aims to address the needs of senior technology users through a combination of education, co-creation, and user-centered design. It will provide insight into new opportunities for “senior-friendly design.”
TechSenior focuses on seniors who are afraid of learning new technologies and who want to build their own understanding of current technological trends. It also focusing on ‘young adult’ who wants to engage their parents or grand parents to learn new technologies. Besides, it aims to the retirement communities, senior living communities, and senior technology centers which want to engage senior group learning and decrease the social isolation of seniors.
Competitive Analytics Chart
To understand the exist applications and events for seniors citizens to learn mobile technologies, heuristic evaluations and a competitive analysis was performed to get a sense of what similar functions offered. To summarized, TechSenior is an application help senior citizens learn mobile technologies by providing visual, physical exercise, audio assistance, efficient feedback and communication.
- Find the common way of senior citizens interact with digital devices
- Get the brief idea about senior citizens’ difficulty when interact with digital devices
- Find the motivation of why senior citizens what to learn digital devices
- Sunset Park Recreation Center
- Computer Resource Center – seniors, adults, young, teen
- Open Access/Computer skills courses
The observation taken on Sunset Park Recreation Center, where provides computer resources for seniors, adults, young and teen.
The senior person right of the picture is the one observed with. The fun fact is that he searching by Google, checking emails and surfing some travel pages. Besides, he have no idea about one image is just a still image or clickable button. He have learned computer for two to three years and he’s not good enough for the computer, like someone type really fast but it is good enough for him to searching the website and watch the community discussion, check the email. He didn’t have a cell phone and he went there for using computer about half an hour per day.
In addition, the resources center provides several courses for senior to learn computers. While, no seniors went there to take the computer courses.
There are summarized feedback of group members after the presentation of paper prototype.
- Hand icon – straight forward guide for next step
- Community idea/ Competition idea – reduce loneliness
- Step and step guide
- Notes taking – senior prefer note taking during study
- There are lots of things seniors citizens what to learn about mobile technologies before learn App
- Tabs are too complicated for senior citizens to figure out
- Too much content at once
- Create a senior squad to intro TechSenior, guide users to follow the instructions.
- Remove the tabs, replace the tutor and tips section as the senior squad instructions, put contact section as a slidebar
- Divided content into small steps for users to complete
- Add physical exercise part for users to adapt interact with virtual interface
Before start creating Beta prototype of TechSenior, based on the previous experience, there are several questions need to be answered. So a user survey was made by Amazon Turk to get the answers of around 70 senior citizens(above 55 years old.)
- Find the reason why senior citizens don’t want to learn mobile technologies
- Find the most efficient way for senior citizens learning
- Find out the needs of senior citizens learning but not exists
1.What is the purpose/situation for you to use digital devices? (Choose all that apply)
A. Work purpose, have to use them during work(37)
B. Get a device by gift, wants to learn it(12)
C. See other people using digital devices, and want to keep up with them(15)
D. On demanding of certain functions(weather, maps, etc)(21)
E. Video chat, want to explore new ways to communicate(22)
F. Entertainment(games, TV shows, etc)(34)
G. Searching for information(Google, etc)(33)
H. Health Care
I. Other(please specify): Love to read
2.What are the reasons make you don’t want to learn using digital devices? (Choose all that apply)
A. Digital devices updated too quickly(27)
B. Afraid to destroy the devices(14)
C. Don’t want to spend much time on learning(17)
D. Can’t find the common things between digital devices and other devices(11)
E. Life is good enough without new technologies(20)
F. Other(please specify): Too expensive
3.What methods are you preferring to learn to use digital devices? (Choose all that apply)
A. Face to face teaching, people assistance(42)
B. Books with detailed instructions(22)
C. Course based (e.x each app for a lesson)(16)
D. Step by step, with reaction/feedback for each step(30)
E. Voice over(11)
F. Notes taking during learning(15)
G. Other(please specify):From my younger generation people, Hands on self reading, YouTube, Learn by doing, My sons
4.Which kind of accessibility is your main concern for learning?
A. Larger text & images(31)
B. Voice over/Speak selection text(13)
C. Make every button in a button shape(8)
D. Reduce Motion of the user interface(8)
E. Other(please specify): Good instruction materials
5.What is the most difficult part for you to learn digital devices?
A. Physical interaction with digital devices(19)
B. Can’t figure out the meaning of icons,images,buttons(interface)(14)
C. Basic knowledge of smart mobile system(20)
D. Accessibility difficulty(Hard to read, hard to touch, hard to hear)(6)
E. Other(please specify):New mobile technology changing quickly, hard to adapt, Bad presentation of materials, Not intuitive what we are supposed to do
Based on the result of user surveys and user testing, the needs of senior users become more clear and a new version prototype were built.
After finding out senior citizens are preferred to use tablets or eBooks instead of smart phones, beta prototype was built as a tablet application, which simplified the alpha prototype and polish the visual design.
After getting the results of user survey, the prototype designed based on the results.
- The most accessibility that senior citizens concerned about is voice over and larger text. Based on that, the accessibility setting section was created to help senior citizens that have needs to change the volume and text for a better experience that interaction with mobile devices. It contains gesture animation to help senior citizens get the most suitable volume and reading size before learning.
- Remain the exercise section on alpha prototype which encourage senior citizens to interact with mobile devices and learn gestures through everyday exercise. For the main function, instead of course based on alpha prototype, beta prototype changes it into book look like screen, which is chapter based that trying to make senior citizens feel familiar with.
- Frequent questions that senior citizens may have were show up instead of the course name which senior users may have no idea about.
- In each tutorial page, there will be visual instructions on the left side to give a brief idea and video tutorial on the right size to teach it in details because senior users came up from different technology background.
- A check page after user tried after learning and if it works, it went to the quiz section for double check. But if user still confusing, it went to a community section for users to share their problem and ask for their family member or friends help.
The user testing was taken on Amazon Turk and 21 senior citizens did it and give a feedback based on their experience.
- 81% testers believe TechSenior is helpful for senior citizens learn mobile technology, and 19% testers thought it may helpful. No tester hold a negative attitude of TechSenior.
- The features testers like most: the book look design, video tutorial and instructions, and voice over.
- The features testers do not like or think may useless: senior character, voiceover(too robotic/mechanical)
Here are the feedback of testers:
- I found it very easy to follow and use. It was very user friendly and would be a great help to seniors as an online learning tool. I would recommend to others and use it myself.
- Very senior friendly but feel the senior character not needed in the tool that could be removed i think that makes improvement to it, i can see myself using this helpful tool 2-4 times a week looks beneficial to me.
- I love it! Although I am good with computers, this would help tremendously. I would love to show it to friends!
- Did not like the the “voice” which sounds robotic to me. Not sure this is what seniors are expecting. Many of them are overwhelmed by technology and this will serve as a reminder of that fear.
- I think it is helpful. I like how it has personal videos to help me because I need it since I am getting older.
- Yes, it is useful, and I would use it in lieu of internal Help feature. However, I found the senior character a little offensive.
- It seems too serial in its function, rather than allowing someone to bounce around more. More flexibility will make it more usable to more seniors. Many seniors today are not like the past generation, and don’t want to sit through a slow process, especially if they already know some things.
- The senior it not necessary. It does not help with the topics. The instructions and video tutorials were great. The tutorial provided a lot of new information for me. I knew the basics but now I know a lot more.
- I think the voice and written instructions together at once is awesome. Sometimes I will not always understand what the speaker is saying so I then can check back looking at the words. Having a voice with less of an accent would greatly improve the speaking tutorials.
- The voice-over is too mechanical. I liked the overall look of the tool however.
- I think it is very useful and can be very helpful to seniors
- This is great. Unfortunate, I have a Verizon phone so the information about the apple phone was not helpful. You might like to give chapters on different phones. As an educator I really liked it. I tutor and try to help other seniors who are not too computer literate. This is excellent and would be very helpful. I hope you will let me know if you come out with the program or if you would like me to test it for you.
- Yes I personally think this is senior friendly
- it is senior friendly and it works, not sure on improvements
- I consider myself to be pretty tech savvy, however, I think it will be quite helpful for many of my friends and family.