UX Design / Research | Case Study
UX Design | Research | Design Sprint
A digital product that empowers people aging in place with the information they need to act on their health
Project Type — Academic
Timeline — 24hr Hackathon
Platform — Desktop/Mobile Website
Tools — Figma, Photoshop, Zeplin
Role — My primary responsibilities included conducting UX research, wireframing, prototyping, and ensuring UI consistency with the existing Google Design System.
The aging population in the United States is growing rapidly, and with it comes the challenge of ensuring access to healthcare services for seniors who wish to age in place. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of digital healthcare solutions, but many older adults lack the knowledge or resources to use such platforms effectively.
Our goal was to develop a digital product that empowers communities by improving access to healthcare services, specifically focused on seniors aging in place.
Despite the increasing demand for aging-in-place solutions, many older adults and their caregivers face challenges in finding and using technology-based products that are accessible, intuitive, and effective in supporting their needs.
Improved awareness and advocacy: The project raises awareness about the challenges faced by older adults who are aging in place and promotes advocacy efforts to improve products and services that support this population.
To ensure that we could develop and finalize our solution within the 24-hour timeframe, we established a streamlined approach to solving the problem at hand. Here's how we approached the task:
Phase 1 — Understand and Decide
● Project brief with Google executives
● Team meeting
● Research and analysis
● Voting and decision-making process
Phase 2 — Ideation and Design
● Brainstorming and sketching
● Task flow and wireframing
● Prototype development
Phase 3 — Build and Pitch
● Developer handoff from the UX team
● Development by our web developers
● Script writing and presentation deck creation
● Final presentation
Understanding the Challenge
Considering the time constraints, we focused on analyzing data that could be processed quickly while providing valuable insights that can be used later in the project. After analyzing the data, our team identified that aging in place, or the ability of older adults to remain living in their own homes and communities as they age is becoming increasingly important as the global population ages.
Here are some key statistics that highlight the importance of aging in place:
The number of people aged 60 and over is projected to reach by 2050. The global population aged 60 and over is projected to increase from 13% to 22% over this period.
Expected global marketplace by 2027, driven by factors such as
the growing demand for home healthcare services, the rise of smart homes and assistive technologies
73% of adults
aged 65 and over, use the internet, and 53% use smartphones. These numbers have been increasing
Key takeaways and discoveries
Aging in place is a complex and multifaceted issue
To support older adults who want to age in place, we need to address a range of factors, including health, safety, mobility, social connection, and access to resources.
Smart home technology can support aging in place
Smart home systems, which use sensors and other devices to automate tasks and monitor the home environment, can help older adults live more independently and safely at home. For example, smart home devices can detect falls, remind older adults to take medication and adjust lighting and temperature based on their preferences.
The use of technology is increasing among older adults
According to a Pew Research Center survey, 73% of adults aged 65 and over, use the internet, and 53% use smartphones. These numbers have been steadily increasing in recent years.
Wearable technology can monitor health and activity
Wearable devices, such as fitness trackers and smartwatches, can monitor older adults' health and activity levels. This data can be used to identify changes in health status and alert caregivers if there is a problem.
How might we facilitate better communication between people aging in place, healthcare providers, and other caregivers to coordinate care and ensure that everyone is on the same page?
Understanding the User
Due to our limited time frame, we were unable to conduct primary research. Instead, we developed a proto-persona based on our secondary research and insights gained about aging in place. This approach ensured that our users remained the primary focus and aligned our team throughout the design process.
Based on the data, it's likely that our user was an older individual who wants to maintain their independence and continue living in their home for as long as possible. Additionally, they value privacy and autonomy and want to maintain their ability to do things on their own as much as possible.
Cheryl is a widow who lives independently at home. She has been isolated for the past two years of the pandemic and her children and grandchildren live a few hours away. Cheryl is not tech-savvy but is becoming more familiar with using virtual health services. She has regular doctor’s appointments as she has hypertension and her mobility is becoming more limited and her hearing is declining.
67 Years Old
Lives in Toronto, CA
● Preserve personal independence
● Keep on top of her meds
● Have convenient access to
● wants to receive resources without having leave her home
● Not the most tech-savvy
● Needs medical assistance but is scared of going to the hospital during the pandemic
● Personal info security & access
● Wants control of her info but doesn’t understand it
● Forget to take meds on time
● Worries about not being tended to in a health emergency
● Avoiding public spaces and hospitals due to the pandemic
● Becoming more familiar with virtual health services
We decided to write user stories to understand what content was important and how it added value. We chose three key user stories that best serve Cheryl's needs and preferences. By focusing on these stories, we could ensure that our product addressed their most pressing concerns, providing the most impactful and beneficial experience.
As an older adult aging in place,
I want to have access to assistive technology, such as a medical alert system so that I can quickly get help if I experience a medical emergency.
As an older adult aging in place,
I want to have access to home health care services, such as in-home nursing and physical therapy so that I can manage my health conditions and maintain my mobility.
As an older adult aging in place,
I want to have access to social activities and community resources so that I can stay engaged and connected with others.
Bailey and I had a lot to do in a short amount of time, so we tried to come up with ideas as fast as we could while pulling inspiration. We did a crazy-8 session, where we quickly drew out our ideas. This helped us align on the direction, especially the components needed to create a health dashboard.
Our digital solution was starting to take shape. from the sketches, we envisioned a Google Health dashboard that would allow Cheryl to have a comprehensive overview of her vitals and the medication schedule
Personal health information:
The dashboard will provide access to Cheryl's personal health information such as medical history, medication list, lab results, and immunization records.
Alerts and reminders:
Visual reminders and alerts for appointments, medication refills, and other health-related tasks.
Vital signs and measurements:
Vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, body temperature, and weight with the ability to customize the data shown
Access to credible information:
evaluating credible information from your doctor is important for staying informed about your health and making informed decisions about your care.
Due to time constraints, we had to move to high fidelity quickly to allow enough time for the developers to code the dashboard. When we were creating our wireframes, we used the Material Design System, to ensure consistency throughout the app and establish a visual design system
During the high-fidelity phase, our objective was to ensure that our product was consistent with the Google brand. To achieve this, we utilized their color palette and typeface.
To optimize our productivity, Bailey and I incorporated color into the mid-fidelity design by utilizing the brand guidelines we had established. We integrated several crucial elements such as Cheryl's vital information, medication schedule, and significant reminders/updates, which would provide her with a comprehensive overview.
The Notification card serves as a reminder for Cheryl to schedule a virtual meeting with her doctor, during which she can discuss any concerns, update her prescription, or make inquiries.
The tab bar in Google's Health platform is a familiar component for many users, making it an advantageous choice for ensuring a seamless user experience. Key navigation items include a vitals page and my health, providing easy access to important information.
The Blood Pressure Vital card should be modular, allowing for integration with Cheryl's wearable device if available. This card provides her with a quick overview of her blood pressure, while a dedicated page allows her to view her blood pressure history. Her doctor can also access this information to monitor her blood pressure.
Cheryl can get a quick overview of her daily medication intake with the Medication Schedule card. If her doctor makes any modifications to the schedule, they will be reflected here to ensure that Cheryl is aware of the changes.
After completing our Dashboard, we handed over the project to the developers to begin coding. Although there were some minor adjustments made, the process was successful. It's worth mentioning that the developers collaborated with us throughout the design phase and provided crucial feedback at every step to ensure they can build what we created.
Looking back at the hackathon experience, I realized how many valuable lessons I learned within just 24 hours. Collaborating with my peers not only enabled me to acquire new concepts but also gave me insights into their diverse disciplines. As a result, I gained a new perspective and developed a deeper appreciation for their talents and skills.
Effective communication ensures that all team members are aligned on the project goals and helps in identifying and resolving issues, sharing ideas and feedback, and keeping everyone motivated and engaged throughout the process.
Collaborating with a cross-functional team was a delightful experience as we partnered with the developers throughout the design phase to guarantee the practicality of our project.
The hackathon was an intensive project to take on, being able to adapt to different roles and being open to change is major key to success.