Research Synthesis Design Solution





Early Concepts and Brainstorming


01 Brainstorming process

What about Ruth...

From the outset of the project we determined that we wanted to do something new and different. We didn't want to pick any low-hanging fruit and we didn't want to come up with something that was either mundane or that was so novel that it ran the danger of being useless.

Having the senior community as a user-group encouraged us to think beyond the iPhone as it may typically be used among the younger and more tech-savvy of the population. We could not go forth assuming that people of these older generations would have, or even know how to use, something like an iPhone.

"We could not go forth assuming that people of these older generations would have, or even know how to use, something like an iPhone."

With that in mind we started to think about how the iPhone might be used if it were a community object as opposed to just a single individual's posession. We explored the idea of having a iPhone designed for seniors who want to encourage physical activity which we tenatively called "Elder Gym Buddy". In "Elder Gym Buddy" we considered having a social network designed for seniors who want to stay physically active. They could connect with friends and family with similar goals and by using geo-tagging we could inform them that a friend is exercising right now, thus encouraging them to go themselves.

In other early brainstorming sessions we came up with a wide range of ideas including an application designed to allow senior citizens of a community to take pictures of problems and send reports to management so that issues could be address promptly. In addition to this feature the iPhone could inform residents of special activities or social events that they may want to be a part of.

Similar to this concept we explored the idea of application wherein senior citizens could input a personal profile which would include personal histories, likes, dislikes, etc and would help introduce them to similar minded folk. We felt as though the strength of this application would be that it allows seniors to remain connected socially, which we feel is very important to them.

However, looking to our persona, Ruth, we realized that it was unrealistic to simply presume that a typical septuagenarian would be so fluent with technology or be inclined to engage in such social networks,or go around taking pictures of facility problems on a regular basis. So we started over.


IID 2007 . Human-Computer Interaction Institute . Carnegie Mellon University