Concept: A device that allows the friends and family of the elderly to contact them easily through SMS
messages,email, and existing technologies they arer familiar with. The elderly
receives the ‘mail’ every morning like you would recieve post from a device that shows the messages on a screen
and gives the option to print the the mail so it is in a familiar context to them. The device can receive emails,
sms’s, photo’s and video.
Core Value: The family and friends of the elderly person will be
able to contact them more often as it will easier for them, this
should result in the elderly feeling less isolated from the family
and make the elderly feel more involved in their lives. By
receiving mail every morning it will create a regular milestone in
their day to look forward to.
Initial Reaction: The initial reaction was very positive. Both the resident (Ebba) we tested it with
and the carer seemed to like the concept. Currently Ebba receives letters from her family every
so often. She runs over to the mail box everyday to check to see if she has anything, she loves
when she recieves a letter. The main purpose of them is often to request her presence
somewhere. Ebba was very excited about this idea and was laughing and very animated when
using it. She was amazed by how it worked...”It’s quite something”
“receiving a letter is a
How did it address their needs: Because it will be easier for the family to contact her it will
hopefully mean she will receive mail more often from them and formore than just inviting her
places. The device will be in her room so she can check it every morning as she does with the
mailbox currently. Also because it will arrive at the same time each morning it will be like she is
getting post to her own house as she would have got before coming to the home. It will be a
more personal device that will bring her more independance and happiness.
Problems that were encoutered: Ebba told us that she associated the red lights
telling you have mail with a problem, that something was wrong, and she said they might
be intrusive. She also found it hard to understand some of the symbols, she
understood the ‘letter’ button as something you would receive, but the other symbols for
photos etc she found confusing. The carer also told us that is could be a lot of
extra hassle if the device needed paper and ink as it would have to be replaced, this
extra time they don’t really have.
Changes for next version:
-Work on the GUI, get rid of the printing and
encorporate into the UI that will be easy for
the to use
-Think about new ways to alert them about
mail that isn’t lighting, something more
subtle, user friendly!
-think about ways to send and reply to letters
-Get rid of seperate buttons for different
types of mail, this just makes it confusing.
-The found out the core value is
“the wonderful feeling they get when they
receive a letter” put more focusing on