Alexa Meal Coordination Skills to Enable Elderly to Age in Place
AT A GLANCE
How might we use voice-assistant technologies as a tool to help people age in place?
Journey Mapping, Service Design Blueprints, Wireframing, Affinity Mapping, Interviews, Literature Reviews, Storyboarding
Shreya Shenai (Alexa interface design), Sienna Sun (storyboard), Emily Hays (project manager & app wireframing/design)
Research began with desk investigations (literature reviews, existing technology applications, etc.) and using the ICF Model (International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health) to build case examples of realistic aging scenarios. It is far more common for the elderly to experience multiple conditions in conjunction with the normal aging process. Not surprisingly, it can be very complicated to manage multiple conditions and the degree of severity impacts the individuals ability to carry on normal activities of daily living, necessary for independent living. Howard, above, is just one of many case examples we imagined as individuals when creating personas.
After understanding the health conditions and challenges Howard faces in day-to-day activities, we refined our problem space.
How might we alleviate the cognitive load of balancing
nutrition needs while managing chronic health conditions?
create a simple, intuitive system, using a voice assistant, that
provides actionable nutrition insights based on user behavior to
ease the cognitive load of meal planning for those with chronic health conditions
After determining our design direction, we began ideating situations and tools where a voice assistant could be used to aid nutrition and reduce the cognitive burden of meal preparation. From here, we started building the system in which this product would function.
& A KEY INSIGHT
INITIAL CONCEPT & SYSTEM DESIGN
Our first concept iteration involved defining what would be the key functions of a voice assistant system and how it could work with Amazon's Alexa Show. The working premise was that the system would learn, drawing from a series of user inputs and pull from different databases in order to optimize dietary menus for the user, based on their conditions. Below is our initial conceptualization of the system algorithm and necessary components.
Helping Howard, acts as a remote nutritionist, optimizing meals according to primary user's health conditions. The system acts as a meal planning and provision service, using the elderly individual's existing social network. It uses Amazon Alexa Show as a secondary interface.
INITIAL USER JOURNEY
SYSTEM ALGORITHM COMPONENTS
Team Member, Sienna Sun, created this storyboard to explain how Helping Howard works. Click through the gallery to view in sequential order.
In order to bring the initial concept to life, our team dove into the true details of user experience and system integration. I led ideation exercises, sticky note mapping, and healthy debate so that our team was thorough and meticulous in thinking through system aspects from start to finish. After going through this process quite extensively, we digitized and refined elements of how Helping Howard would function.
JOURNEY MAPS (System, Primary User (elderly), Secondary User (caretaker)
PROCESS SCHEMATIC (of core function)
INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE (of 2 companion interfaces)
Helping Howard has two interfaces, similar to how ride share apps have an app for the driver and for the passenger. The first app will be used by the Primary User (Howard) in conjunction with Alexa. The companion app is for the caregiver, coordinating meal delivery.
Below is an information architecture for key features in the app used by the Primary User. We created these maps prior to wireframing.