Christopher Nortier, Art Director, and John Ågren, interaction designer, from inUse went to the annual conference NotRation 12 in Dublin, Ireland. Here is their second report from the conference.
Samsung asked design agency Vitamins to develop a new mobile phone for the elderly. Vitamins’ user studies showed that something else was needed.
Adrian Westaway was working on the project Out of the Box, which won both “Best Concept” and the “Empowering” classes at the Interactions Awards 2012, following an order for a mobile phone for the elderly by Samsung and the Helen Hamlyn Centre of Design. After a thorough user study Westaway and Vitamins chose, unlike many who have done similar projects, to focus on the target group’s potential as opposed to their limitations.
The mapping of the target audience, a group of elderly was to buy a new mobile phone, and everything from their initial thoughts to how they interacted with the phone was mapped. Based on user study, the Agency concluded that older people have similar needs and requirements from their phones as younger users do – but they have a completely different experience when they unpack it. When a 20-year old opens a box with a new phone it doesn’t take many minutes before the phone is turned on and all functions tested, but when an “older” person makes the same purchase they often begin with understanding the phone by reading the manual. Something that often prove to be of little help.
Vitamins therefore chose to re-design older people’s experience of learning about the phone, instead of creating a new phone. Out of the box resulted in a package as a book in which the user browse their way through the various steps to unpack and get the phone up and running.
Great example of staying alert to the fact the sometimes the question asked, is not the right question that will lead to a working solution.
[via - original post in Swedish]