In recent decades, advances in medicine and the general improvement of living standards have led to a sharp increase in the number of elderly people. With longer life expectancy, the demand for knowledge and understanding of the needs of the elderly also increases. I, therefore, created, in cooperation with experts in the field, an educational and counselling system designed to better understand the elderly, and consequently help enrich their everyday life, equip their relatives with the knowledge to provide better care and tailor activities to the needs of each individual, and to offer staff at care homes the opportunity for further education in their field of work.
I thoroughly reviewed the literature and existing solutions. Then I examined areas such as everyday care, dementia care and spatial planning and compared existing websites, manuals, articles and workshops.
The interviews provided a good insight into the problems and desires of the elderly, their relatives, and employees in this field.
The interviewees felt that this is an important topic that they are eager to know more about. Family caretakers and the elderly often reported feeling lost in the flood of different, low quality and sometimes contradictory information. Relatives often find themselves in unexpected situations, as a result of which they need to provide quick and efficient help with various tasks. One of the more difficult topics for family members is dementia, as it is both physically and emotionally exhausting; many times they do not know how to connect with or help the elderly, when it is the right time for them to go into an elderly care home and what kind of help the state offers them.
Based on the collected answers and previous research, I looked for recurring patterns and stories that were crucial for the creation of personas. I added interactive scenarios that describe the personas’ interactions with the product. Based on the results, I created three personas and corresponding scenarios for them. I also prepared two user experience plans that helped us understand the user’s experience and thinking while using the product.
With my team of elderly care experts, we organized all the content that we wanted to include on the page. Then I created an information architecture that serves as a guide in the creation of a website prototype. The information architecture shows the individual pages that are accessible on the website and their interrelationship and organization.
Based on the information architecture, personas and user experience plans, I then started working on the prototype in Adobe XD. I started by selecting a colour scheme and typography, followed by designing the user interface and its basic building blocks, such as buttons, lists, image layouts, input fields and text. Then I added content and connected all the screens interactively.
I tested the adequacy of the prototype by giving ten users a set of tasks, while observing and recording their interactions with the prototype. The results were encouraging. After testing, I asked them for suggestions for improvements, which I implemented in the website. The proposals were as follows: larger letters for easier reading and better-divided text. Before the launch of the website, I tested it again and the results were very positive, all users learned something new, liked the transparency of the site and the way information was presented.
The final result was an informational website with guidelines for various aspects of elderly care, such as space design; a set of tools, exercises and activities for comprehensive care; information about dementia, individual counselling and seminars for staff at care homes; and a list of services and benefits available to the elderly in Slovenia. The website was created in the content management system WordPress with additional HTML and CSS coding complemented with social networks and video content.