Project Type

Team project of integrated product design course

Time

Winter 2018 (3 months)

Role

Product designer

Skills

Concept testing, Product thinking, UI design, Product fabrication

 

BACKGROUND

Design for senior citizens

 By the year 2030, the number of individuals in the United States 65 years and over will reach 70 million, and people 85 years and older will be the fastest growing segment of the population. (National Institute of Health). Falls are the leading cause of accidental death and 75% of deaths caused by falls occur in the 13% of the population who are ≥65. Falls threaten the independence of elderly people and cause a cascade of individual and socioeconomic consequences.   

My role

 During the Integrated Product Design course, I was part of team of 5 with students from Engineering, Industrial Design, Information and business school to design and market a product in a simulated market environment, which is very similar to running a startup. I conducted the research and led the entire visual design, including sketching, digital prototyping, website design and logo design. I also involved in physical prototyping and branding for the final trade show.  

CHALLENGE

How might we improve health maintenance and outcomes for senior adults with active technology

PRODUCT AT A GLANCE

Promotion Video

EQUILIBAR

EquiliBar, a weight balance bar, provides the easiest way for senior citizens to maintain and improve their balance at home.

 

Target users:

Senior adults who are losing their balance and at risk of falling.

 

DESIGN PROCESS

From fuzzy front end to technical development

We conducted rapid product development cycles from researching market potentials, validating design concepts, creating tangible prototypes, making website for the tradeshow. Along the process, we went through 3 design reviews from a panel of design, business and public health professionals.  
 

Understand user needs and market potentials

RESEARCH

Understand user needs and market potentials

We started out with interviews, empathy testing and competitor analysis to better understand the pain points and desires of seniors' daily life. We conducted 6 user interviews, empathy testing, and observation that provided insights of core user needs and market potentials witch helped us to narrow down our project scope later.  
“I don't use a lot of technology, only have a flip cell phone to call my family and for emergencies.” 
“I don't use a lot of technology, only have a flip cell phone to call my family and for emergencies.” 
“I need to do physical exercise twice a week, including leg exercises, hip exercises, mechanical bicycle, etc .” 
“I have to take various pills but I can't remember.” 
 

Identify potential market

SCOPING

TO synthesize the data collected and find out the common themes, we did the affinity diagram to frame the essential needs:

Affinity diagram

 To synthesize the data collected and find out the common themes, we did a rapid affinity diagram to frame the essential needs in 3 different areas:  
 Health maintenance  
 Meds management  
 Transportation  

Personas

 Based on previous research, we created personas to frame user needs, context, and identify the touch point of design. Our personas were 2 senior adults and 1 caregiver with varied pain points.  

IDEATION

Brainstorming

Our team came up with over 20 ideas within the 3 areas and grouped ideas of shared values into 5 design concepts. We then sketch out those 5 different product ideas with basic features that related to the 3 essential needs we identified during previous research.

 
 
 

VALIDATION

Validate design with stakeholders

Concept card testing

We tested our 5 product ideas plus 2 existing products by sending out surveys to 50 potential customers. Those 7 concept cards included concept sketches, basic descriptions and features . This informed us the willingness of purchase of each product, the rationale behind users’ decision makings, and provided further design inspirations. Based on results we received from those surveys, we were able to calculate 90% confidence intervals for customers’ willingness to purchase the product.

 

Result

 The EquiliBar and the Front and Back Automatic Shower Head were 2 concepts that were most preferred by the tested users.  

In order to seeking consensus and making final product selection within the team, we also built a scoring model after the concept testing which shows that 26.38% to 45.22% of our target population would like to purchase EquiliBar. Eventually, our team decided to further explore the concept of EquiliBar since it has the greater probability of success and value to our potential customers.

PRODUCT FABRICATION

Prototype early, never stop iterating

Refined product brief

 Incorporating user feedback and input from design review panel, we refined our product brief to guide the future design and kept iterating on the functionality and product shape. Our product, EquiliBar, serves an easy way to help the senior citizens maintain and improve their balance at home.  

Physical prototyping

 We began prototyping early to test our product features and potential technical issues. We also talked and test our prototypes with potential customers and physical therapists which helped us to rapidly iterate the prototypes with their feedback. Prototypes were made from 3D printing, Arduino components and other materials at hands for realizing our design concept.  

Conjoint analysis & costing model

Conjoint analysis was conducted to help us evaluate the cost and desires of our product features. We designed a survey to test preferences from customers. In the survey, we presented a brief overview of EquiliBar, and presented four key attributes, including price ($50, $100, and $150), technology (low-tech and high-tech), material (plastic, aluminum, and carbon fiber) and weight (light-weight, medium weight). We also provided examples for potential high-tech implementation, such as audio feedback, light indicator, reps monitor, and wireless connection. Respondents were asked to rank 14 combinations with mixed attributes from most preferred (#1) to least preferred (#14).

 

This analysis allowed us to discover valuable insights for the individual importance of each of our product EquiliBar’s features, our customer’s willingness to pay, and competitive market insights. Our average willingness to pay analysis showed that customers would be willing to pay more for high technology followed by lightweight and plastic materials.

 
 

FINAL DESIGN

EquiliBar, easy way to train your balance

 EquiliBar aims to provide an easy way to help senior citizens monitor and improve the balance simply at home. We designed the brand concept around the product to make ourselves unique among competitors in the market. We set our optimal price at $70 based on our pricing model and preserving market research. We also created a promotional website, video and design the trade show experience for customers.
 
Check our website here 

Light indicator & audio feedback

 The Light Indicator can give users feedback when users are using the balance bar, while audio feedback will be given when connected to the smart devices (e.g., Alexa, smartphone, or iWatch).  

Wireless connection

 The Wireless Connection provides users with the ability to connect the balance bar with their smart devices to improve their user experience.  

Reps monitor

 Reps Monitor can monitor and record users exercise behavior. Then, the relevant records are shown on through the smart devices.  

TAKEAWAY

 The simulated market environment and multidisciplinary team collaboration allowed me to further develop my product design and cross-functional collaboration skills. The process of developing EquiliBar involved not only bringing delightful user experience to customers but also solving conflicts, communicating with team members, making compromises, and using storytelling to connect with the customers.  

Photo from 2018 IPD Trade Show

Check more Trade Show pictures here

 

© 2018-2019 Chelsea Guo