Hongqiao Lu | Linh Thi Do | Shianhe Yu | Stefanie Owens | Wei-Hsun Chen
Research | Usability Testing | Software Specifications | Prototyping | Interaction Design
Explore senior and caregiver needs and creating card-like concepts for "hands on" products that help stimulate and sharpen mental acuity to keep the minds of the aging engaged and active.
In order to begin narrowing down the scope of our problem into areas where there might be product opportunity gaps, we examined a wide variety of social, economic, and technological trends affecting our general market of adults ages 65+. We mapped out our initial primary stakeholders and conducted a series of preliminary discovery interviews in order to generate insights that might further inform where opportunity intersects with good timing in the market.
"Part of the grieving process is to help others, and this renews motivation and fills (seniors) with a sense of purpose." — Sarah, full-time caregiver
"Loneliness and depression go hand-in-hand; coping with death is scary, and they have to do it all the time." — Blair, geriatric physician
"Most senior games can be well organized by leagues, sparking competition which is important for staying engaged." — Tim, Age 65+
Our research made us realize that our initial problem statement that was given to us needed further definition. While mental acuity was still the overall goal, we were able to redefine "mental acuity" to actually mean "social engagement and interaction" through the insights discovered from our users like you see above.
We used the Value Opportunity Analysis (VOA) framework above as a way to evaluate current similar solutions on the market that were filling the need for senior mental acuity and social engagement. As a team, we defined each of the adjectives you see listed as they would pertain to this particular problem space. Using these definitions, we could qualitatively evaluate what the current state was, and where there might be the biggest opportunities for impact based on our user research.
Through multiple rounds of user interviews and the VOA exercise above, we arrived at four key insights that translated directly into product requirements for our proposed solution. These insights, or values, were themes that seemed to strike the deepest chord with the stakeholders we interviewed, whether they were caregivers, seniors, or healthcare workers. As a team, we then defined what these values might mean to our product design and generated some design requirements, seen below.
Accommodate different personalities and participation levels by creating a league or activity that encourages people to not only play, but to spectate or discuss in their communities through universal design principles.
Community-driven activity, using existing social infrastructures to enable people to participate comfortably through positive interactions and healthy competition.
Create an immersive, world-building activity that provides an alternative experience from day-to-day stress and challenges of aging. Enable seniors to take on roles and activities in the game suitable to their abilities.
Create a game platform to facilitate interactions to forge bonds with new friends, not just acquaintances. Engaging people around a common purpose to share interests and personal connections with others.
As a team, we generated over 165 product opportunities within our market, and used weighted matrices and Pugh charts with carefully chosen criteria in order to narrow these opportunities down to only one focus area. As validated by our research, we focused our efforts on how to employ competitive gamification to create a unique activity league for elders to foster meaningful social interaction in their communities and promote mental stimulation.
We created twelve different product prototypes that we used to test with our users through one-on-one interviews, co-design activities, and group game days before understanding that our products were missing the mark.
A key focus from our research that we did not want to lose sight of was the emphasis of social interaction as a means of mental stimulation. We knew we needed to create something where people could participate at any level of activity by playing the game themselves, being a spectator, or simply a fan who can enjoy talking about the game. Think about how sports are able to do this — how might we recreate this sensation with seniors through card-playing? Our initial prototypes failed to do this past a surface level, and we were forced to make a huge pivot late in the game and get back to the drawing board. How can we bring people together through card-playing, and enable seniors of all levels of ability to engage with others in their communities, leading to happier, healthier minds?
Introducing AllCard League —
A Gamified, Web-Based Fantasy League to Enable Seniors to Compete and Connect with Other Card Players in their Communities
View the video on the right for a brief overview on how this concept could work.
In order to deliver AllCard League to the U.S. Playing Card Company, we not only had to design all of the key visuals, branding, screen layouts and business plan, but also the foundational interaction design and software specifications. I took the lead on the latter two fronts, developing a site map color-coded with redundant layouts in order to minimize front-end development work, as well as a detailed look at the process of all user interactions in the League, and a rough project scope of development work in order to project budgets and timelines, validated with an external development team.
User Interaction Flow
The final conceptual prototype and web interface is not shown here for confidentiality reasons as agreed upon with the client. The above diagrams give an insight into some of the final deliverables I was responsible for as my contribution to the team, and the U.S. Playing Card Company was able to carry forward much of our research that was detailed above into their product development strategy after our graduate work was completed.