Team: Chian Huoy Low, Mai Thao Nguyen, Meztli Sabina Moralz
Bringing elderly and children together have been an uprising method to bring smiles, conversation, and interaction to the elderly. By using design thinking in combination with Carlson and Wilmots’ (2006) 5 disciplines of innovation, and Gamestorming methods suggested by Gray, Brown and Macanufo (2010), our goal was to design an innovative product that would create value for the user by involving both elderly and children to interact with the purpose of bonding, and thus enhancing the relationship between them.
We had conducted a field study by observing the conditions in an elderly care center. We gained insights about how the elderly proceed in their everyday life, how several activities are carried out to enhance the social environment, and to keep the elderly active.
By conducting different Gamestorming techniques by Gray, Brown and Macanufo (2010), we developed many different concepts, and decided to work further on with the concept that could solve the problem at hand. We used NABC framework (Carson & Wilmot, 2006) to make a value proposition for our concept. At the very end of our design process, we reviewed our prototype with the employees at the elderly care center for feedback on our concept.
We considered the several methods for activation, which includes: triggered by motion sensor, touchscreen, accessible by buttons built-on the frame.
Final concept: I-Frame
Our final concept idea was a photo frame with a static picture, triggering audio to play wherever the picture is clicked on, in the frame. This concept was a combination of the previous ones with four tactile buttons placed underneath the photo. We wanted to keep it authentic with the concept of a regular picture frame – something they are already familiar with.
We specified requirements for our product design:
- It should not overstimulate the elderly, causing them to be frightened, tired or annoyed.
- It should have a switch/button that will not be triggered by itself unintentionally.
- The picture frame should not be too big, neither too small but it must be light-weighted.
- The glass protecting the picture should be of a material that will not break if a child is playing with it, or if it falls to the ground.
- It should be portable, just as a regular picture – it can be hanged, placed on a table, passed to other people to show, etc..
- It should have speakers that can play off the recorded messages when someone is clicking on the picture.
- The frame should be connected to an application where family members can record and change messages on the picture.
The biggest issue with using this method was that the glass on top of the photo made lesser room for the sponge to expand, causing the trigger of the circuit to be unstable. The audio would start to play unintentionally whenever the frame was slightly moved or vibrated.
We realised that having buttons instead of sponge and foils allowed us to have better control over the on/off state. Touching the picture would now provide a tactile feedback to the user, indicating that something had changed. A click-sound from the button also gives the indication of change.
We recruited a Norwegian student to record messages as if she was sending a greeting to her grandmother. We used GarageBand (an iOS software) because it produces high quality audio files.
We intended to test I-Frame with some of the elderly residents at Brumunddal Bo- og Aktivitetssenter, but this was not possible to achieve.
We held instead a presentation and demonstration to the professional staff at the care center about what we had learned and observed the first time, what we managed to do with that information, our design process, and about our concept and prototype. We got many positive reactions and comments about the I-Frame, but also questions about whether we had taken into account that some may suffer from cognitive or physical disabilities. Some were also interested in what the I-Frame would cost in the product market. At the very end, we discussed with the staff about how much sensitivity the buttons on the picture should have and use of motion sensors, to account for elderly with cognitive and physical disabilities, and possible competition with video-chat applications.
Our design process has been coloured by the five disciplines of innovation, and the creativity has been enhanced by combining Gamestorming methods to our design thinking approach. By having a value proposition, it is with confidence that we can say that I-Frame is a concept that could enhance the interaction and relationship between a grandparent and a grandchild, and also create value for our target audience because they feel remembered and thus less lonely.