PACO

Paco is a senior care device and app that enables the elderly to feel safer while exploring the world around them.  
Paco's design is inspired by the form of a bird. It can be a friendly companion for the elderly.  

HOW IT WORKS

DEVICE

MAIN FEATURES

Location Tracking
Caregivers can see where the elderly are to ensure their safety when needed.
Alert Feature
The elderly can press the alert button to send alert messages to their caregiver's phone when they need help.
Call Answering
Caregivers can see where the elderly are to ensure their safety when needed.

THE APP

The app has two parts, one part for the senior and the other part is for their caregivers. The caregivers can help the senior setup Paco and they are the target users for the app. 
For the senior
The senior part of the app requires setup, and since they are the target users for the Paco device, caregivers can also help set up the app.  
For the caregiver
The caregivers are the target users for the app. They can use the app to track the location of the senior and receive alerts from the senior.  

DESIGN PROCESS

Why Paco?
The elderly especially those who live in a foreign country in a suburb, tend to feel very lonely. There are many reasons that lend to their loneliness; they don’t speak the local language, most of them can’t drive, and when they go out they are afraid of getting lost or falling down. So they rely on their children or caregivers to take them to places but most of the time they are at home by themselves. Therefore I wanted to create a design that helps them overcome the fear of going out of their houses and explore the world around them.
User Research
I observed my grandma’s daily life and how she used technology. I also shadowed her and her friends from the senior care center for half a day. Here are some findings:
•  They prefer using a landline over a smartphone to communicate with others.
•  They can operate
easy to access technology devices like the television, massager: those only require them to press a physical button.
•  They can answer phone calls but rely on their children and caregivers to
reply to important phone calls because they are afraid that they might miss important information.
•  They can walk around the house but are limited to places near the house.
•  They
rarely use a smartphone, they only carry a smartphone when going out because they are concerned that their children and caregivers might contact them.
•  They check posts and messages from family members but don’t post or send messages.
•  They
show barely any interest in new technology that looks complicated.
•  Their lives have quite rigid routines and they don’t like to change their diet or daily activities.
 
Personas
I compiled the research findings, based on the insights from user research and interview, I came up with 2 personas.
 
Design and Iteration

Device

 

I tested the design of the wearable device, the feedback I received for the initial prototype is that people wish to wear it as a bracelet instead of brooch and they like the texture of the design but they think the design is very ordinary. For the final prototype, people think it looks nice, very adorable, the button design is intuitive, nothing complicated about it. It makes people feel safe to have it with them when going out and would look forward to wearing it. 

Initial Prototype
Final Prototype
App - Initial design

 

The initial design of the app is to allow the elderly to send requests to caregivers when they want to go out, caregivers can then order taxis for the elderly and track their location. The feedback I received after usability testing is that it is very similar functionality wise to Uber. but the elderly don’t use Uber to get to places, therefore, this feature may still a bit too complicated for the elderly to use.
 

App - final design

 

The final design of the app is mainly for caregivers to track the elderly’s location, receive alert messages and check on the elderly. Considering that most elderly are not used to using smartphones, the caregivers can help setup Paco for the elderly, the interaction for the elderly is mostly on the device in order to avoid complicated operation on the smartphone and make the Paco as easy to use as possible.

Reflection

I think with the final design, I have achieved the goals I originally set up and created a simple and intuitive experience for the elderly. Due to time constraint, I couldn't test with many elderly, but based on the feedback I received, the elderly love the design is Paco and they think it is a good design that makes them feel safe and care.

User Interview
I interviewed 5 elder men and women and their caregivers from the senior care center in NJ, here are some insights:
“ I rely on my daughter to take me to places because I am afraid I might get lost, I hope there is a way to show my family my location all the time.”
 - Ms Wu
“ I pay a lot of attention to my health, I beg the budda to bless me with good health, I am afraid of falling, I hope I will stay in good health.”
 - Ms Hu
“ I am here to help my daughter take care of her family. When I am not needed, I feel useless and lonely.
 - Mr Lin
Design Goals

With a better understanding of the lifestyle of the elderly and how they use technology, I set design goals for the project:

  • Make the design easy to use and intuitive for the elderly

  • Make the elderly feel safe when going out

© 2020 by Queena Wang.