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SKILLS :

Adaptive Redesign

Human Centered Design

UX Design

System Thinking

+ my role

User Research

Iterative Ideating + Problem Solving

Orthographic Drawing

CAD Modelling + Rendering

3D Printing 

Designing an adaptive phone system for senior citizens focusing on haptic feedback, simplified controls, ergonomics, high contrast UI, and meeting custom medical needs.

TYPE:

Team (of 3)

TIMELINE:

2 weeks

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PHASE I: THE DESIGN BRIEF AND USER RESEARCH
Project Directive: 

Design (driven by your client) a mobile phone for the aging population that allows them to be self-sufficient and enables a smoother, easier, and more accessible user experience.

Interviewing Our Client:
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After conducting this in-depth interview with Mr. Brown, we defined our
Target user group:

Senior citizens + arthritis and/or glaucoma patients

Alongside more interviews within this group, we conducted in-depth secondary research about the most common types of arthritis that affect the hand, how their symptoms affect hand movement control, and the ways glaucoma impairs the patient's vision.

We could better empathize with our user group.

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PHASE II: PRODUCT ANALYSIS

Breaking down the phone system and sorting aspects of its function and form into positives to preserve and negatives to solve through our redesign.

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With the insights gained from our user research and product analysis , we set some design targets :

Goals: 

Form

  • Provide a more comfortable grip while reducing the load delivered to the palm and fingers

Phone Interface

  • Improve button positioning, sizes, and form, making them easier to locate and operate

  • Increase visual contrast

  • Improve haptic feedback received

Function

  • Reevaluate the role of the touch screen and difficulty in navigating phone functions

  • Place design emphasis on phone functions most utilized by senior citizens, and consider implementing additional functions that would aid self-sufficiency

  • Simplify charging process

Market Research: 

Understanding our user group's preference for more haptic interfaces provided by older technologies like the buttons and directional pads on TV remote controls and the dials on radios, we began researching ways these could guide our goals.

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From this, our driving design principle became:

Bridging modern technology with familiarity.

This would greatly reduce the learning curve required for senior citizens to adapt to modern technology.

PHASE III: IDEATING

Iteratively developing and evaluating different approaches of meeting our design goals. 

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PHASE IV: PROTOTYPING FORM

Low Fidelity Prototypes: 

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Exploring how the forms sketched feel in and align with the contours of the hand and evaluating the strength of the support and grip each provide.

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We had multiple people grip each form to understand which features worked.

We planned to combine the best of each to reach a final form, however, soon grew unhappy with how bulky the shape was becoming. 

Our solution:

Splitting the design into a phone and supplementary case system.

While slimming down our design, this also expanded our user pool.

While those with additional medical needs could use the add-on cases, now all senior citizens could use the independent phone.

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High Fidelity Prototypes: 

This split design provided the opportunity to build a system of custom cases.

From our user and secondary research, we learned that different types and stages of arthritis impact the hand and the patient's ability to grip objects differently. While some patients feel most strain on their fingers, others feel more load on their palm.

Developing different versions of our case design would enable us to meet these custom medical needs.

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Simplified charging system with a larger pin

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3D printed phone case prototypes

PHASE V: FINAL DESIGN
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In addition to the design changes explored above and presented below, here are the redesigned functions:

  • Easier access to functions most used by senior citizens through simplified button controls (talk to text, placing calls, camera use)

  • A remote control inspired navigational pad for the screen that delivers haptic feedback 

  • An emergency button that signals for help when pushed in (has increased push resistance to prevent false alarms)

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PHASE VI: BRANDING CONCEPT
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PHASE VII: DEVELOPING A SYSTEM
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Future possibilities:

  • Making these cases HSA eligible

  • Making more variations of the cases available to cater to a greater range of medical conditions affecting the hands such as carpal tunnel, tendonitis, etc.

  • Providing more customizable case material options

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