Experience designer & researcher
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Coordinating caregiving for the elderly

With a growing aging population, elderly caregiving is becoming a more prominent issue. Through our research, we found that one of the greatest burdens to primary caregivers is not providing care, but coordinating care amongst other secondary caregivers that are involved. Orbit addresses this challenge by streamlining the communication in the full circle of care.



Design Brief

For this project, we were challenged to create a novel mobile app service that brings together two different user roles, with different goals, together in completion of a task. This co-creation of value between different kinds of users has become more prominent through the rise of the peer and sharing economy. Our team chose to explore the problem space of elderly caregiving because of the significance of informal work involved in it. 

3 week project for Interaction Design Studio | Fall 2016
Instructors: John Zimmerman + Skip Shelley

Yining Zhou, Keegan D'Souza

Personas, Value Flows, UI Design, UX Design, Wireframing, Animations

UX Research, UX design, UI design, prototyping, pitching

Guerilla Research Approach

With the short time frame for this project, we wanted to conduct efficient, guerilla research about this problem space.  We assessed our knowledge of the elderly caregiving space through an ecosystem collection guide. This quick exercise allowed us to identify the gaps in our knowledge and helped us direct our primary and secondary research efforts. We used our personal networks to quickly recruit research participants and leaned on our prior experiences (my undergraduate honors thesis was an ethnographic study on aging justice). 






Through directed storytelling sessions, we had the opportunity to listen to the experience of both primary and secondary caregivers. We were particularly interested in learning about the emotions and wishes of those that are involved in caregiving and about the painpoints in the interaction amongst the multiple caregivers. 


01: Transitions are tough. Recognizing when someone's dementia is progressing and constantly adapting to new situations is one of the most challenge aspects of caregiving. 

02: Caregiving can be isolating. A lot of the complex emotions and relationship issues get magnified when caring for an aging parent. It's easy for a primary caregiver to take on the lion's share of the work without asking for help.

03: Continuity of care is critical. Having others help out can sometimes make things worse if they aren't aware of best practices/approaches that work. 



One emerging theme from our interviews was the need to know about and track changes in the elderly person's status so that the caregivers could prepare for these changing needs, whether it means getting additional help or transitioning to a facility. 

One emerging theme from our interviews was the need to know about and track changes in the elderly person's status so that the caregivers could prepare for these changing needs, whether it means getting additional help or transitioning to a facility. 

We focused our secondary research on understanding more about the care needs of those with dementia and Alzheimer's. We found that there are several stages of dementia with each stage requiring different kinds of support. Secondary research also backed up what we found during our primary research, which is that elderly people experience dementia prefer to live at home rather than at a care facility and caregiving efforts are aimed to support this independence. 


We generated over 15 different scenarios thinking about different ways that a mobile app could generate value to the two personas we identified. These personas allowed us to stay oriented as a team about our design goals for this app and they were key to crafting the final narrative of use. 









Exploring value flows

Although the personas gave us a sense of direction in terms of what the key goals are, we knew there were various approaches to achieving those goals. Diagramming different value flow models helped us see visualize the interactions.


Final framing


Initial goals



From our exploratory scenarios, we selected three of the most promising concepts to storyboard in a narrative. Having concrete personas allowed us to think about the environment of the user and when they would be using the app. 

These storyboards also encouraged us to think about the core value that our app delivers and prevented "feature creep" from happening.







We identified key goals that our app should allow users to accomplish, but were unclear on the form. Paper prototyping sessions allowed us to quickly work through different design options and led to organizing the key functions of the app into four groups: CARE TASKS, TIMELINE, CHATS and CIRCLE.


Navigation Map

We used this high level view of the overall flow of the app to determine which screens we needed to design to communicate the most essential interactions in the app. Due to the short time frame of this project, our goal was to design for the minimal viable product.  

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High Fidelity Design

For the final pitch, we created a narrative to demonstrate the context of use between the two personas and the value Orbit provides to both users.

HECTOR - Secondary Caregiver

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ROSARIO - Primary Caregiver

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We created animations to demonstrate some of the state changes in the app. Additional animations can be viewed in the InVision prototype linked below.

Creating Delight
Caregiving can be challenging and we wanted to bring some brightness to what could otherwise be repetitive tasks. The celebration of task completion through confetti was one idea we explored. 


Clickable Prototype

Link to InVision Prototype