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Koalia Care App

August - September 2018

Background

Koalia Care is a mobile app developed by a team of five that aims to predict and prevent health complications in the elderly. Its simple and intuitive interface is designed for use by the elderly. By inputting and logging information, the user can stay on top of their health and will be informed if the app detects any worrisome patterns developing. The app also has calendar and reminder features for tasks such as taking pills and doing chores. Read our team's Medium posts here.

Key Skills

-  User research and needfinding

-  Storyboarding

-  Prototyping from low-fidelity on paper to interactive high-fidelity on Figma

-  User testing and iterating

The Problem

Because all of our team members have aging family members, one thought that came to all of us is the heath and wellbeing of the elderly. This led us to our problem: How can we best ensure our loved ones are in good health when they wish to live independently or when we do not have enough time to look after them ourselves?

User Research

Before deciding what problem we were going to tackle, we realized that we needed to learn more about the elderly in order to properly design with them in mind. Therefore, we went online to gather statistics about them. Here are some of the notable pieces of information that we found:

Storyboarding

Since none of us had much knowledge on what it was really like to be a senior citizen, we created storyboards to further empathize with the elderly. By creating believable storyboards, we were able to pinpoint how we envisioned our app would help the elderly and the different scenarios our app could be used in.

Wireframes

Our team decided to each do wireframes on paper on our own, then come back and discuss each to see what we liked and disliked about each. This way, we can come up with many unique solutions to our problem, and take bits and pieces from each wireframe to build the best possible prototype. Here are two of our wireframes:

From these, we found that we went in slightly different directions in tackling the problem. Some of us focused more on a reminder system, and while others focused more on actively trying to prevent or remedy pain/poor health. We decided that we would focus more on the prevention and remedy aspect of health, but we would still include a reminder/calendar system because we felt it was an important feature to have. One aspect that we agreed upon was the use of large, salient buttons that were easy to identify and press. This was because some senior citizens' fine motor skills may worsen as they grow older. 

First Prototype & User Testing

Once we figured out how we want our app to solve our problem, we â€‹collectively worked on creating a low-fidelity prototype on Figma. You can interact with our first prototype here.

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Due to time constraints, we were not able to test our first prototype with seniors. However, we were able to test amongst our peers. Feedback from our peers notified us of a few mistakes with our prototype, such as inconsistent word and color choice. People also noted that the layout that we had was confusing due to inconsistencies in the inclusion of a back button as well as in the usage of the navigation bar which changed functionality on some screens. Our reasoning for the design of the navigation bar was that we wanted users to be able to get to where they want as quick as possible. The more clicks the user has to do, the more frustrating the experience could be. However, we realized that in trying to design the quickest app flow possible, the tradeoff was an unintuitive application for the user to use. Thus, in our next iteration, we decided to slightly increase the number of pages in the user flow in order to increase our application's ease of use.

Final Prototype

Our final prototype built on the functionalities of our previous prototype and also took into consideration the feedback we received. Here are a few of the screens from the final prototype:

Users can track information from home page

Color scheme on-brand and creates contrast

Clear buttons create straightforward navigation

Consistent back and home buttons reduce confusion

Large buttons for easy pressing

Friendly word choice mimics feeling of caregiver

You can interact with our final prototype here.

Final Thoughts

This project was definitely a great experience for me. Designing for a wildly different demographic than myself was challenging, but I definitely learned a lot about applying the design process to situations that I am not personally familiar with. It also taught me how important empathizing with the users are, since what they need might be nothing like what you think they need. We can only be effective designers by truly empathizing with the users. This experience also taught me a lot about the elderly and their needs. Before, I wouldn't have thought of how different the lives of senior citizens are compared to ours, especially people who have some reliance on another person to fulfill daily needs. This opened my eyes to the broader picture of how different demographics may lead completely different lives, even if on a surface level they may seem relatively the same.