Bridged

An iOS mobile app that connects seniors with a younger generation to help bridge a technological knowledge gap.

 

Project Overview

Project Overview

Bridged is a user-friendly tool that connects seniors (ages 55+) with student volunteers for guidance on how to use and navigate their smart devices.

Bridged is a tool that connects seniors to student participants in the Duke of Edinburgh Youth Achievement Award to meet and guide them with their devices.

Role

Role

UX/UI Design Lead (solo project)

UX/UI Design Lead (solo project)

Created

Created

Brainstation, 2018

Timeline

Timeline

8 weeks

My first project as a UX designer, Bridged is a highly tailored solution for seniors seeking clarity on how to use and navigate their smart devices. This project was inspired by the confusion and frustration that my grandmother and her friends regularly experience in the face of ever-changing smart technology. To optimize usability for this particular demographic, empathetic engagement with the user was vital from start to finish. It has been an exciting and rewarding deep-dive into the UX process.

Bridged is still a work in progress – as with any app, adjusting to user feedback is ongoing. That said, I encourage you to review the key flow in action through my prototype here.

The Problem

Unfortunately, the rapid pace at which new technology emerges and evolves has created a knowledge gap between senior citizens and younger generations.

This gap has left many seniors feeling unable to effectively engage with friends and family, or participate in the broader public discourse online. Lacking the knowledge or confidence to navigate their devices independently, many seniors find themselves waiting – often for long periods of time – for family or friends to assist them.

The Problem

Unfortunately, the rapid pace at which new technology emerges and evolves has created a knowledge gap between senior citizens and younger generations.

This gap has left many seniors feeling unable to effectively engage with friends and family, or participate in the broader public discourse online. Lacking the knowledge or confidence to navigate their devices independently, many seniors find themselves waiting – often for long periods of time – for family or friends to assist them.

The Problem

Unfortunately, the rapid pace at which new technology emerges and evolves has created a knowledge gap between senior citizens and younger generations.

This gap has left many seniors feeling unable to effectively engage with friends and family, or participate in the broader public discourse online. Lacking the knowledge or confidence to navigate their devices independently, many seniors find themselves waiting – often for long periods of time – for family or friends to assist them.

The Problem

Smart technology has become increasingly central to how we live, work, and communicate. Unfortunately, the rapid pace at which new technology emerges and evolves has created a knowledge gap between senior citizens and younger generations.

This gap has left many seniors feeling unable to effectively engage with friends and family, or participate in the broader public discourse online. Lacking the knowledge or confidence to navigate their devices independently, many seniors find themselves waiting – often for long periods of time – for family or friends to assist them.

The Problem

Unfortunately, the rapid pace at which new technology emerges and evolves has created a knowledge gap between senior citizens and younger generations.

This gap has left many seniors feeling unable to effectively engage with friends and family, or participate in the broader public discourse online. Lacking the knowledge or confidence to navigate their devices independently, many seniors find themselves waiting – often for long periods of time – for family or friends to assist them.

74%

of seniors say they have no confidence when using smart devices.

74%

of seniors say they have no confidence when using smart devices.

77%

of seniors say they want someone to help teach them about their device.

77%

of seniors say they want someone to teach them about their device.

The Approach

The Approach

Bridged Approach – Sept 13

Don't be fooled, building a solution to this problem was far from straightforward. Attending to the distinct needs and habits of this target user required constant review and revision, which on some occasions meant starting over from square-one. 

The process became particularly complex when moving into the creation phase, where I faced the task of designing and testing layouts on users that had little or no knowledge of current mobile patterns. It was a process of ongoing learning, testing, reconfiguring, re-testing new elements until an optimal model emerged.

Don't be fooled, building a solution to this problem was far from straightforward. Attending to the distinct needs and habits of this target user required constant review and revision, which on some occasions meant starting over from square-one. 

The process became particularly complex when moving into the creation phase, where I faced the task of designing and testing layouts on users that had little or no knowledge of current mobile patterns. It was a process of ongoing learning, testing, reconfiguring, re-testing new elements until an optimal model emerged.

The Solution

- Subscription-based app designed for seniors who are having trouble using their mobile devices, or who want to better navigate their devices’ capabilities. 

- Simple design that allows the user to connect with, and arrange to meet, a local student helper working towards their Duke of Edinburgh Award.

- The student helper meets and guides the user through issues or questions regarding their devices.

The Solution

- Subscription-based app designed for seniors who are having trouble using their mobile devices, or who want to better navigate their devices’ capabilities. 

- Simple design that allows the user to connect with, and arrange to meet, a local student helper working towards their Duke of Edinburgh Award.

- The student helper meets and guides the user through issues or questions regarding their devices.

Final Iteration Mockups

User Research

Being raised with internet and electronic devices, my relationship and behaviour with technology is vastly different from that of my users. As a result, undertaking comprehensive research was essential to gaining a meaningful understanding of my demographic and how they interact with their devices.

Being raised with internet and electronic devices, my relationship and behaviour with technology is vastly different from that of my users. As a result, undertaking comprehensive research was essential to gaining a meaningful understanding of my demographic and how they interact with their devices.

Being raised with internet and electronic devices, my relationship and behaviour with technology is vastly different from my users. 

For this reason, I knew I would have to dive deep into research to truly develop a holistic understanding of what my users are going through.

Goal

Gain a comprehensive understanding of my users' relationships, views, and behaviors with their devices.

Gaining a holistic view of my users' relationship, motivations and behaviours with their devices.

Methods

The three methods below were conducted among five participants (ages 55+). 

  1. Surveys
  2. Interviews
  3. Usability Lab Testing

Full details on the research method structure can be found here.

Nana and Fam

Meet a few of my participants

Meet a few of my participants

Meet a few of my participants

Interview Insights

Low confidence and a lack of understanding of digital language (i.e. of icons, layout, transitions, navigation) emerged as clear obstacles preventing my users from using their devices.

Here are a few quotes from my interviews that highlight the most significant research findings.

6 Guiding Design Principles

6 Guiding Design Principles 

6 Guiding Design Principles

6 Design Principles

 

Turning insights into action

In light of my research findings, I formulated six guiding principles for my digital designs, which would allow my users to better understand and feel more confident interacting with my design solution.

Turning insights into action

In light of my research findings, I formulated six guiding principles for my digital designs, which would allow my users to better understand and feel more confident interacting with my design solution.

Turning insights into action

In light of my research findings, I formulated six guiding principles for my digital designs, which would allow my users to better understand and feel more confident interacting with my design solution.

Turning insights into action

In light of my research findings, I formulated six guiding principles to follow when designing my app, which would allow my users to better understand and feel more confident interacting with my design solution.

The app design and flow must:

The app design and flow must:

Six Guiding Design Principles

Persona & Mapping

User Research

After analyzing my research, I created the following persona based on commonalities found.

After analyzing my research, I created the following persona based on commonalities found.

After analyzing my research, I created the following persona based on multiple commonalities found.

After analyzing my research, I developed the following persona based on multiple commonalities found.

Helen Persona@1x

I then proceeded to map out Helen's journey of learning a new device-related task when assistance isn't around.

I then proceeded to map out Helen's journey of learning a new device-related task when assistance isn't around.

I then proceeded to map out Helen's journey of learning a new device-related task when assistance isn't around.

I then proceeded to map out Helen's journey of learning a new device-related task when assistance isn't available.

Experience Map – Reduced

The Opportunities

By mapping my insights into a persona and experience map I was able to identify three key opportunities:

1. Help build seniors' confidence to use their devices.

2. Reduce the waiting periods for seniors to access tech support.

3. Provide in-person support at a location of the user's choice

The Opportunities

After mapping my insights into a persona and experience map, three key opportunities were identified:

1. Help build seniors' confidence to use their devices

2. Reduce the wait for seniors to get access to tech support

3. Provide in-person support at location of the user's choice

The Opportunities

Three key opportunities were identified from the research:

1. Help build seniors' confidence to use their devices

2. Reduce the wait for seniors to get access to tech support

3. Provide in-person support at location of the user's choice

The Opportunities

After mapping out Helen's experience, three key opportunities were identified:

1. Help build seniors' confidence in using their devices

2. Reduce the wait for seniors to get access to tech support

3. Provide in-person support at location of the user's choice

The Opportunity 2

Product Strategy

Product Strategy

Once I determined what my product opportunities were, I conducted competitor research on other solutions. I then drafted user stories to identify and prioritize key features for my app.

From there, I strategized on who I wanted to use as the in-person support for my user.

Prioritize Features

Connecting seniors to Duke of Ed participants

Connecting seniors to Duke of Ed participants

Connecting seniors to Duke of Ed participants

Connecting seniors to Duke of Ed participants

As a peer-to-peer service, the safety of Bridged users is central.

To this end, Bridged connects seniors with motivated students who are actively pursuing the Duke of Edinburgh Award: the world’s leading internationally-recognized youth program that promotes high achievement and community engagement. In addition to other requirements, student participants (ages 14 – 24) must log weekly hours in Community Service.  

Learn more on the DoE website DoE website here.

As a peer-to-peer service, the safety of Bridged users is central.

To this end, Bridged connects seniors with motivated students who are actively pursuing the Duke of Edinburgh Award: the world’s leading internationally-recognized youth program that promotes high achievement and community engagement. In addition to other requirements, student participants (ages 14 – 24) must log weekly hours in Community Service.  

Learn more on the DoE website DoE website here.

As a peer-to-peer service, the safety of Bridged users is central.

To this end, Bridged connects seniors with motivated students who are actively pursuing the Duke of Edinburgh Award: the world’s leading internationally-recognized youth program that promotes high achievement and community engagement. In addition to other requirements, student participants (ages 14 – 24) must log weekly hours in Community Service.  

Learn more on the DoE website DoE website here.

As a peer-to-peer service, the safety of Bridged users is central.

To this end, Bridged connects seniors with motivated students who are actively pursuing the Duke of Edinburgh Award: the world’s leading internationally-recognized youth program that promotes high achievement and community engagement. In addition to other requirements, student participants (ages 14 – 24) must log weekly hours in Community Service.  

Learn more on the DoE website here.

Seniors-&-Student

Sketching

Sketching

Sketching

After extensive research, strategy, and exploration, I was finally able to begin the step I was most excited about –  sketching and design.

Taking into consideration my guiding design principles and other research insights, I did extensive inspiration exploration. The full inVision inspiration board can be found here.

Given that this was a problem space without a clear direction of what could work and what couldn't, I had to sketch, experiment and test a wide range of layouts, functionalities, and themes.

After extensive research, strategy, and exploration, I was finally able to begin the step I was most excited about – sketching and design.

Taking into consideration my guiding design principles and other research insights, I did extensive inspiration exploration. The full inVision inspiration board can be found here.

Given that this was a problem space without a clear direction of what could work and what couldn't, I had to sketch, experiment and test a wide range of layouts, functionalities, and themes.

After extensive research, strategy, and exploration, I was finally able to begin the step I was most excited about –  sketching and design. 

Taking into consideration my guiding design principles and other research insights, I did extensive inspiration exploration. The full inVision inspiration board can be found here.

Given that this was a problem space without a clear direction of what could work and what couldn't, I had to sketch, experiment and test a wide range of layouts, functionalities, and themes.

After extensive research, strategy, and exploration, I was finally able to begin the step I was most excited about –  sketching and design.

Taking into consideration my guiding design principles and other research insights, I did extensive inspiration exploration.

View the full inVision inspiration board here.

Given that this was a problem space without a clear direction of what could work and what couldn't, I had to sketch, experiment and test a wide range of layouts, functionalities, and themes.

Sketches-3

Wireframing

From a wide array of effective sketches, I selected two themes and layouts based on my research, which I turned into grayscale wireframes on Sketch. 

From there, I did some basic A/B testing with seniors on specific screens related to setting up a request. I was aiming to see if my flow made sense to my user and observe how they interpreted and interacted with specific design elements.

From a wide array of effective sketches, I selected two themes and layouts based on my research, which I turned into grayscale wireframes on Sketch. 

From there, I did some basic A/B testing with seniors on specific screens related to setting up a request. I was aiming to see if my flow made sense to my user and observe how they interpreted and interacted with specific design elements.

Theme 1 - Accessible

Wireframe—Functional-Reduced

Insight

Insight

Insight

Users made it clear that they were not receptive to the simplicity, noting they felt that the app was talking down to them.

Although easy to navigate, users made it clear that they were not receptive to the simplicity of this design, noting they felt that the app was talking down to them.

Users made it clear that they were not receptive to the simplicity, noting they felt that the app was talking down to them.

Theme 2 - Conversational

Wireframes—Conversational

Insight

Insight

Insight

Users enjoyed the personality and conversational style, but the casual copy and avatar made it feel less professional and trustworthy

Users enjoyed the personality and conversational style, but the casual copy and avatar made it feel less professional and trustworthy

Users enjoyed the personality and conversational style, but the casual copy and avatar made it feel less professional and trustworthy.

The Hybrid Concept

By doing basic A/B testing, I was able to reduce assumptions and save time when determining how my final design concept would look and flow. 

It was clear by my users' reactions to the two design themes (functional versus conversational) that the final concept had to combine elements of both.

So, I continued to rework and experiment until the designs finally evolved into a hybrid of accessible and conversational.

The Hybrid Concept

By doing basic A/B testing, I was able to reduce assumptions and save time when determining how my final design concept would look and flow. 

It was clear by my users' reactions to the two design themes (functional versus conversational) that the final concept had to combine elements of both.

So, I continued to rework and experiment until the designs finally evolved into a hybrid of accessible and conversational.

User Experience Design Portfolio

Usability Testing

Usability Testing

Having solidified my design concept, I completed three rounds of usability testing. Each round was done with a different group of five seniors.

As with any project, there were many challenges presented when designing and testing on my users. For Bridged, some were minor and required simple copy changes, but others were more significant and required rearranging layouts, breaking some iOS patterns and adjusting hierarchy. 

Below are a few key findings and required alterations that arose during usability testing.

Having solidified my design concept, I completed three rounds of usability testing. Each round was done with a different group of five seniors.

As with any project, there were many challenges presented when designing and testing on my users. For Bridged, some were minor and required simple copy changes, but others were more significant and required rearranging layouts, breaking some iOS patterns and adjusting hierarchy. 

Below are a few key findings and required alterations that arose during usability testing.

Current State

Current State

After multiple rounds of usability testing, I was able to refine the screens into the app experience below, which successfully enabled seniors to flow through with confidence.

After multiple rounds of usability testing, I was able to refine the screens into the below app experience, which successfully enabled seniors to flow through with confidence.

Dashboard

Dashboard

Dashboard

Users can easily view all their information right from their home Dashboard.

Using a tab system instead of a dropdown menu or bottom navigation bar gave the user more confidence to move around the app without feeling like they were leaving the page.

Dashboard Mockups

Steps to set up a request

Steps to set up a request

Easy to set up a Helper request in four simple steps. The details provided through these steps allows Bridged to find available Helpers in their area.

Current Status – Four Steps

Local Helper list

Local Helper list

Local Helper list

Browse through all available, top-rated Helpers in your area and read their profiles.

Browse through all available, top-rated Helpers in your area and read their profiles.

Helper List

Helper profile

Helper profile

Helper profile

Get to know each Helper by reading their profile and other senior's reviews.

Once the user has decided on the Helper they want, they can send a request for the Helper to call them when they are available.

Helper Bio

In-app call feature

In-app call feature

In-app call feature

Once they are available, the Helper can call the senior through Bridged's in-app call feature to confirm all the meeting details.

Keeping the users' safety and security in mind, this feature was imperative for Bridged as it ensures no personal contact details are given out and all points of contact can be monitored if needed.

In App Call Support

Consistent Support

Consistent Support

Consistent Support

Consistent Support

Every screen includes a Help option to receive guidance on the task at hand. This allows the users to feel more confident that they don't have to navigate the app alone. 

The design also includes consistent coach marks sprinkled throughout the task to help the user understand any new or important elements which might appear on the screen.

Every screen includes a Help option to receive guidance on the task at hand. This allows the users to feel more confident that they don't have to navigate the app alone. 

The design also includes consistent coach marks sprinkled throughout the task to help the user understand any new or important elements that appear on the screen.

Coach Mark Support – Reduced

Bridged

Bridged

The app that's missing from every senior's device

The app that's missing from every senior's device

Bridged – iPhone 8-01

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© Pippa Lyttle

© Pippa Lyttle

© Pippa Lyttle