About





Gahm

mobile app design

This is a mobile app dedicated to tackle the social isolation of elders. Our team designed an engaging Q&A platform enabling intergenerational conversations that enhance the social participation of elders and help our communities better understand each other.


︎Project Duration
8 Weeks (Jan 2022-Mar 2022)


︎My Role
Design Strategist


︎Tools & Skills
Figma
Adobe Illustrator
Miro
Desk Research
Concept Ideation
Prototyping




Problem

Many older adults are socially isolated due to the limited social support.


While the elderly population is rapidly increasing around the globe, the supports for elders are extremely scarce or unavailable which left our elders alone in our communities. What are true needs of elders that our society is currently missing?



Possible Solution

Intergenerational conversations will enhance the independent social participation of elders and improve social awareness on aging.


Our elders want a independent social participation that motivates and excites them to interact. When elders join intergenerational conversations with younger generations, they tend to share their knowledge to help youngers and gain emotional fulfillment and self-satisfaction from it. Furthermore, encouraging intergenerational discussion will help both elders and youngers value each others’ companionship with empathy.

DISCOVER THE PROBLEM

Background Research


For background research, secondary research was conducted with a constructive literature review system.
Around 50 data were reviewed and the analysis was conducted on 12 main sources with 4 main themes(aging, social isolation, independence, and ageism).
current situation:

1/4 of elderly population over 50 years old are currently suffering from social isolation.


  World is entering super-aged society.   Every country in the world is experiencing growth in both the size and the proportion of older persons in the population. By 2030, 1 in 6 people in the world will be aged 60 years or over (WHO, 2021).

 But more adults are socially isolated.   The data portary that the older a person is, the more likely they have smaller networks, fewer primary network members, and more distant relationship ties (Cornwell, Laumann, Schumm, 2008). However, the current social system doesn’t provide enough support.



elders’ needs from previous interviews:


Social interactions, especially with younger people, excites older adults. But independent participation is key in those interactions. 


Voice from interviewees
  • “It’s hard to live along, but I go out, I share in different occasions, social participation is a good motivator for us as we growing old.” (Sally, 65y)
  • “I’m taking care of myself, my health is good, I need to stay healthy and mentally oriented, so I won’t seek anybody’s help and still enjoy my life.” (Michelle, 65y)



 The gap between social support and elders’ needs is from the lack of independence and ageism.   The current social support system expects the passive role of older adults due to their agiest assumptions of regarding elders as frail and dependent. However, independent was what elders most wanted in their social activities. Therefore, the current social system could not fulfill elders’ needs in social participation and fail to encourage active and continuous social interactions of elders. 



Competitive Analysis

  • Elder-friendly services have no space for intergenerational conversation


  • Q&A platform as a great format for intergenerational conversation


  • Information overload is an issue


There are a few competitors for elders’ social participation and they are mostly through elderly volunteering. However, the process was complicated with lots of information and was not accessible to all older adults, especially many of elders have physical illnesses. Q&A platforms often create easy social participation of elders through intergenerational conversation but still, information overload was an issue.


Elders Helper
elder-friendly, poor UI
AmeriCorps
good social benefits, complicating application process
Reddit

easy intergenerational interactions, information overload
Quora
supportive environment between generations, information overload




Final Insights
After thematic analysis on the data collected from research process, we came up with three major insights. 

1. Independent social participation is key


losing independence was what elders fear the most
positive experience from self-driven actions increase elders to rejoin activities 
elders prefer small group interaction with larger freedom, than big community interaction with limited freedom

2. Need for intergenerational discussion 


current social support system for elders are often formed within only elders community
when elders interact with younger generations, they feel more affiliated with community
elders are socially engaged when interacting with youngers, especially with those who followed similar paths


3. Q&A Platform with simple UI has good potential


Helping and supporting people offer emotional fulfillment to elders
just having a space to share story and knowledge reduces issues caused by social isolation of elders
information overload is a big obstacle for elders’ web/app experiences