SoClose app. Keep track of your beloved ones

Do you have an elder in your family to watch over?

Is your family elder living alone and being autonomous?

If you answered yes then you may want to find out how I designed an app —in a 2 week limit— so that the relatives of autonomous elderly people can supervise them remotely and extend their autonomy for as long as possible.

SoClose app's screens

Hypothesis

At this primary stage, I consider an starting hypothesis:

The family members of elderly people need to contact them frequently to know their state of health.

Research

I started my investigation by making exploratory surveys and interviews in order to identify a problem that deserved to be solved.

I launched a survey with 12 questions after a Lean Survey Canvas.

Lean Survey Canvas

Findings

I got 54 responses and the following revealing data:

Survey data

Subsequently, I interviewed 6 family members of autonomous elderly people obtaining some interesting insights. Making an Affinity Diagram helped me to identify patterns and relationships among the insights and determine which were the outstanding ones:

“Sometimes I can't locate my mother and that worries me. When she goes out, she easily becomes disoriented.”

“Lately, to avoid worrying me, my father hides information to me about his state of health.”

“After suffering a fall in the street, we try not to leave her home alone. But it is inevitable.”

At the same time, I decided to interview 5 autonomous elderly people getting some interesting insights as well:

"When I fell down being home alone, I felt helpless and vulnerable.”

"The red emergency medal of the current telecare service that I wear is too bulky and it bothers me, it also makes me feel older.”

"I don't hear the telecare service when they try to communicate with me through the speaker."

I made use of these strong insights to define the two User Personas.

User Personas

The foremost User Persona is Quim, Amèlia's older son. He is a 48-year-old war journalist. He travels a lot for work and spends long periods in Syria and other conflict zones.

Quim – Main User Persona

The secondary User Persona is Amèlia, Quim's mother. She is a 80-year-old retired woman. She got divorced from his husband 25 years ago and since then she lives alone at her home.

Amèlia – Secondary User Persona

Problem Statement

By making an Empathy Map I determined what are the pains and gains of Quim and Amèlia and it let me uncover the Problem Statement:

Family members of autonomous elderly people need to supervise them easily and immediately to obtain security and tranquility without altering their privacy feeling.

Design Question

The Empathy Map also allowed me to pose the Design Question:

How can we ensure that the experience of supervision of elderly people by their family caregivers is immediate and easy to use by both parties and that the information is reliable and at the same time meets the values of respect for privacy and self-esteem?

Value Proposition

I then drafted the Value Proposition of the new online tool:

An elderly people supervising tool that allows their closest relatives to monitor them discreetly, clearly and directly, promoting their personal autonomy and providing security and tranquility while improving their quality of life.

How do we get there?

Afterwards, I analyzed the features offered by the direct competitors of my product and I made a list of possible features having always in consideration my User Personas' needs and frustrations.

A Jobs-to-Be-Done allowed me to define the main features while a MoSCoW helped me to prioritize the features to be implemented in my MVP:

1. MUST HAVE

1.1. Geolocation

  • Locate the position of the supervised older person.

  • Locate the caregiver's own position.

  • Suggest faster route to the supervised person.

  • Ability to call an emergency service and direct it to its location.

  • Issue a notification when the older person leaves a defined perimeter.

1.2. Vital signs measurement

  • Body temperature measurement

  • Heartbeat

  • Respiratory rhythm

  • Blood pressure

  • Sleep time

1.3. Fall detector

1.4. Communication-enhancer

  • Vibration to notify the supervised person that they are being called by phone.

2. SHOULD HAVE

2.1. Remember medication and doctor appointments

  • Ability to schedule doctor appointments.

  • Medication scheduling.

  • Abnormal health notifications history.

2.2. Ability to add more supervised people.

2.3. Ability to add more caregivers.

3. COULD HAVE

3.1 Trusty online caregiver's community

  • A net of care angels —neighbours, friends, people of trust— can establish a net of caregivers and help each other.

4. WON'T HAVE

4.1. Telephone

  • The device will not have a direct telephone communication system.

Naming & Tool's Features

At this stage I named the product, SoClose. I defined the features that the app would offer from the beginning (see section Must Have above) that let me settle what is needed for that purpose.

It consist of two elements: the SoClose App, on the one hand, and a wearable SoClose Wristband paired with the app and worn by the beloved under supervision, on the other:

SoClose tools

Concept

Then, I started shaping the CCC that will graphically support the whole project: The Closeness. I considered that closeness —understood as proximity— defined the principle of this product.

Tenderness, health, safety, tranquility, company, care, softness, warmth…all of them connote closeness and graphically hold the project.

Creative Central Concept & Mood Board

Besides, I worked on the Information Architecture by building the Site Map of the app.

User Interface

To start shaping the user interface I made Low and Mid-Fidelity Wireframes of the different screens of the app in order to test them out.

Some samples of mid-fidelity paper wireframes

After iterating several times, detecting some mistakes testing the Low and Mid-Fidelity Wireframes, I built some Mid-Fidelity Prototype and made them to be interactive so that they could be tested again.

Once again, I detected some UI design gaps that needed to be fixed. I iterated again and applied the improvements.

Some samples of mid-fidelity paper wireframes

Final Prototype

Finally, I made the High-Fidelity Prototype.

Above this lines, in the flow shown in the video, Quim performs the following actions with the SoClose App paired to his mother's So Close Wristband:

  1. Quim logs in the app.

  2. He directly sees a map with a blinking green dot indicating Amelia's good state of health and her location in real time.

  3. Suddenly, the green dot switches to amber color —resembling the traffic light's color code— indicating something serious is happening with Amèlia's health state. The message states that her body temperature has risen 1.5 °C during the last hour. Although it is not a Critical message in red color, Quim's should contact her to see what's going on. Her temperature is shown next to the message along with a timer, that started recording the time taken at the very same moment Amelia's SoClose Wristband sent the alarm to Quim's SoClose App.

  4. Quim calls Amèlia. She takes a paracetamol by recommendation of her son. Amèlia's temperature stabilizes. Quim, satisfactorily handled the situation.

  5. Later, Quim receives another Serious amber message warning him that her mother is wandering and seems to be lost in the street. She has surpassed the security perimeter that Quim's previously set up in her mother's Account panel.

  6. Unexpectedly, Quim receives and sees a message telling him there has been a connection error with Amèlia's SoClose Wristband. He tabs on Try Again button to recover the connection. Finally, the app satisfactorily connects again and Quim can keep supervising Amèlia normally.

  7. All of a sudden, he gets another warning. This is a Critical message —in red color— covering the whole screen and informing him that Amèlia fell down and her respiratory rhythm is abnormal. It suggests Quim to ask for urgent medical assistance. Their respiratory rhythm data is shown on the top but Quim has no clue what's the normal respiratory rhythm of an adult, so he quickly tabs on the information sign next to the respiratory rhythm value. The information he gets helps him to answer his question.

  8. He decides to call an emergency service using the call-to-action button provided on the bottom of the screen. By doing so he sees a message telling him that Gemma, his sister, already called an emergency service. Gemma is also logged in with the SoClose App, she also collaborates in her mother's supervision. The same message offers Quim the possibility to directly call Gemma in order to ask her about the situation.

  9. Quim decides to trust the system, close the message using the upper right little cross and keeps tracking her mother through the main map screen. In case her mother would be transported by a vehicle —an ambulance— the app will notify Quim and his sister Gemma about it.

  10. As Quim is still worried, he decides to look deeply for information about her mother's state. He tabs on Health —in the tab bar— where he has access to all Amelia's vital signs measurements provided by the wristband on real time.

  11. For instance, he clicks on Body Temperature and a panel unfolds displaying a line chart of her body temperature across the time. He compares and contrasts with previous day vital signs measurements by tabbing on the bar over the data. He can even select a specific day on the calendar on the top right side of the screen.

  12. Then Quim, tabs on Agenda. He wants to check what are today's doctor appointments and treatments regarding her mother. The current day is already selected so he tabs on the unfolding button and realizes that at 10am her mother has to take ½ of Digoxin pill, then at 5:30pm she has a visit with the Cardiologist and, finally, at 8pm she has to take 100g of Airtal pill.

  13. Then Quim tabs on the top right settings button to check what are the topics and their respective color codes. In case he considers it appropriate, Quim is able to add a new topic or activity assigning a color to it.

  14. He finally decides to go back and tab on Account in order to pair the new SoClose Wristband he bought for his father Jordi. To do so, he tabs on Tracked beloved ones, then he effectuates the pairing by tabbing on the + sentence below. Jordi's wristband is now paired.

  15. Finally, Quim checks how is his father by returning to Location and tabbing on the icon with a + sign next to Amèlia's picture, it unfolds on its side letting Quim select Jordi's picture. A clear green Good message indicates that Jordi is fine and has been sleeping for 8h 30min.

Next Steps

  • Arrange the application to the needs of parents of children who may already be independent but still need some supervision when traveling alone, from home to school, for instance.

  • Adjust the application to parents or legal guardians of people with some functional diversity —for example, Down Syndrome— to promote their emancipation.

Key Learnings

One of the most important things that I have learned in this project is to pick the right tool for each stage and purpose —instead of using all of them— within the Double Diamond design process.

You don't have to take the same route for each project. The most important thing is to stop and think beforehand what tool do you need to achieve what you need to know. Then everything comes naturally and the final result is truly benefited from that.

This is the UX/UI Final Project conceptualized and designed by Adrià Lleó within the framework of Ironhack Barcelona's UX/UI Design Full Time Bootcamp.

To know more about it, READ THE FULL CASE STUDY on Medium (5 min.)