an augmented reality platform that connects people across generations & distances.
Globalization and urban migration has led to larger number of families that live away from each other. This raises issues particularly for the elderly population as they deal with both loneliness and depression. On the other hand, childhood depression is also on the rise, with youngsters today spending almost double the time on screens as they used to in 1965.
The US has a growing elderly population, of which >40% report being lonely
in 2017, children had over 6.5 hours of screen time a day
Loneliness has been linked to an increased risk of decline in health and death
Childhood depression is on the rise
Section 1: Research
To analyze and understand my users better I dove deep into research, both primary and secondary. I also did a thorough competitive analysis and evaluated all the products that were in the market currently.
DESK RESEARCH SUMMARY
I looked at other products that serve the same need: inter generational communication. Some of these are apps, others are physical products and some are services.
I created a set of evaluation metrics along with an order of importance to help me figure out my priorities, both when looking at existing products and when selecting final ideas. These are rated on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the most important.
Grandparent talk (flash cards to help start conversations) and Iyagi (a student project that allows for storytelling) came out on top on this matrix because of the active nature of the communication and the how easy these products were to use.
INSIGHT 1: ACTIVE VS PASSIVE
If we look at analog vs digital as a snapshot across time, a majority of the platforms tend to club together in the passive communication section of the matrix. While the number of people we are communicating with has increased, the quality of the communication has dropped. There is lesser scope for the development of personal relationships. Social media allows one to communicate with a lot of people simultaneously, but the communication is only in the form of likes or comments. The medium has more breadth than depth.
CHANGE IN LEISURE TIME (1965-2013)
While there has been an overall increase in leisure time from 1965- 2013, all of that growth has been primarily in time spent on screens. The only two segments that have seen a decrease in time spent across all age groups are socializing and reading.
primary RESEARCH SNAPSHOT
Primary research done at various phases to understand the target demographic.
PRIMARY RESEARCH INSIGHTS
Insight 2: Children + Technology
While there is a perception that children are good with technology. That might not necessarily be the case. Children primarily access content through apps and it is the UX that makes it easier. Added to this, children have larger attention spans than adults and are more likely to stick to a problem till they solve it.
Insight 3: Society + Technology
Access to the internet and technology has resulted in children growing up faster. Technology has had a marked effect on society and the way we interact with each other.
Section 2: synthesis
To synthesize my insights from the primary and secondary research, I used various synthesis tools to understand my users better and eventually come up with some How Might We statements to ideate upon.
HOW MIGHT WE?
Connect Grandparents and grandchildren across distances
Help Grandparents share their experience and skills
Create a space for child led play instead of structured activities
Create a platform that grows with children
section 3: Ideation
From multiple rounds of brainstorming, I plotted various ideas on a Value Horizon Matrix to determine which ideas to pursue. I was aiming to target an idea which had disruptive potential and pursued a concept that was a big bold idea and had a high customer value.
Meld is a mixed reality platform to help connect grandparents and grandchildren. It provides and interactive platform that facilitates communication and allows the two generations to do activities together remotely.
The grandchild has a companion Iffy that they take care of through a tablet app. Any changes the child makes around Iffy are projected on to Iffys’ house. The activities that the grandchild can do include redecorating, baking, gardening and building furniture amongst other things. The grandparents help create these activities and monitor progress. The systems works by breaking the structured play paradigm and creating a space for child-led play in a safe environment.
A projector projects onto the house, creating an augmented reality environment that can the child can customize with wallpapers, changing colors, adding photos etc.
Here’s all the things that the child can do
what an average week with meld looks like
SECTION 4: Development
USER FLOW - APP
LOW FIDELITY PROTOTYPING