As context for the Graphical User Interfaces course, we used the elderly home insights we discovered in our User Research course for developing concepts for the GUI final project. Why elderly homes? As the course syllabus explains:
Creating a concept with an application specific GUI for an eldercare context with multiple user groups (patients, doctors, nurses and visitors) with their respective information needs represents an interesting basis for the students to create highly tailored and relevant interfaces for a demanding target group. The students will have to develop, design and prototype tools and experiences that have impact and show empathy towards the different user groups needs and contexts.
After a lengthy and intensive concept development process and user testing at the elderly home, Jacob, Ash and I presented PhotoCaring for our final presentation.
What It Is
PhotoCaring is an interactive surface that displays shared photographs belonging to residents of an elderly home.
The photographs are displayed in a gallery format on a wall in one of the home’s common spaces, such as a hallway or lounge.
Interacting with and sharing these personal photos will promote social well being, nurture identity and will provide a sense of home to the entire building.
How It Works
- E-Wallpaper displays photos behind physical photo frames.
- RFID tags communicate with the wall when someone is present.
- The wall can display contextual information based on who is present.
- An intuitive touch interface allows residents a variety of options for exploring photos on the walls using an old-fashioned slide projector as a metaphor.
- A “favorating” feature allows people to save photos and vote for special exhibits.
- When more than one resident is present, several mechanisms are in place to encourage learning about each other through photos.
- Staff members have a variety of options for controlling the display of photographs, including establishing themes (i.e. Christmas, pets, grandchildren, etc…).
Values and Potentials
- Brings a sense of “home” to ordinarily institutional common spaces.
- Allows resident to maintain a sense of identity based on past experiences, family, lifestyle and preferences.
- Provides an opportunity for residents to learn more about their neighbors thus increasing the chance for relationships based common bonds.
- Gives an outlet to share information about yourself.
- Creates a space for social activity and special events.
Key Insights and Observations from User Research
- A need for social interaction amongst the elderly that is based on common interests, experiences and personalities.
- A need to maintain personal identity.
- A need to create a sense of “home” in the building’s common spaces.
Key Insights and Observations from User Testing and Feasibility Study
- PhotoCaring was our strongest concept in terms of level of interaction for elderly people
- Photos on different subjects proved to be a good conversation starter
- Anne discussed her dissatisfaction with paintings hanging on the walls throughout the building
- Anne showed us some photos hanging on the hallway wall which contained people no longer living in the building
- Anne showed us her own apartment which contained a wall of photos with notes on the back. Anne flipped over her photos to read the notes so that she could tell us where the photos were from.
In our final presentation we discussed the above points and walked through the PhotoCaring interface. After each group’s presentation was a small exhibition in which we showed this short animation (sorry if it is hard to view at this small size) along with a physical simulation using a projector and pictures frames on the wall (pictured above).