What Need Exists?: Problem Overview
As we age, performing tasks around the house becomes more difficult. Changing a lightbulb, mowing the lawn, or moving furniture can become tough, even dangerous. These tasks are vital to living independently. In fact, when we reached out to seniors living alone within the Seattle area, we found that over 80% of respondents needed to reach out for help in completing a task around the house in the past year. Often those who struggled with these tasks cited their desire for independence as the primary reason for living on their own. Many reached out for help to family when these tasks arose, however many seniors had none to which they could turn.
How do we Meet that Need?: Solution
Our solution to this problem is Servicd, a platform that connects volunteers within King County to individuals over the age of 65 within the area. Through Servicd, people aged 65+ can reach out to others to help you with the tasks with which you struggle. Servicd allows for a wide variety of tasks, from cleaning and yard work to household maintenance and moving furniture. Seniors can select a time that is convenient, as well as who they would like to help. They can also view ratings for helpers to ensure those assisting them are trustworthy. Servicd aims to ensure that seniors can retain independence which they deeply value while still helping them when the need arises.
What did we learn from our First Iteration?: Paper Prototype, Testing Process, and Results
First Iteration: Paper Prototype
The prototype ideas were originally created in an online collaborative drawing tool and then a group member sketched these ideas by hand and they were uploaded to Marvelapp to allow for easy digital navigation. A basic diagram of the paper prototype design flow is shown below:
Reaching our Users: Testing Process
User testing was conducted on 3 different participants who each live in the same physical location as a member of our group with an assigned notetaker (done virtually) and facilitator in the group for each test. While the participants were not members of our target group due to COVID-19 limitations, we had all participants act as and think like individuals aged 65+ who live alone as this is the intended target group for our solution. All three users were told about each of the two primary tasks that they should be able to perform using this prototype and told to complete each of these tasks. The users were told to talk through their thoughts and considerations as they work through each of the tasks. They were also told to voice any concerns they have, though the members of our group that were conducting the testing did not direct users or answer any questions they have about functionality as they work through the test. We did, however, ask probing questions to get users to talk more about their thought process. User feedback and externalized thoughts were recorded over the course of the tests so they could be organized and conclusions could be drawn.
What we found out: Results
While there were many useful findings gathered as a result of user testing, there were two findings that were the most important. First of all, the user expected to be able to choose a time for the task in addition to the date. Since being able to pick the time for a task is a fundamental part of being able to get help for a task, it is important that we resolve this issue so users are more comfortable with the scheduling of tasks. The change that was made as a result was to allow the user to specify a time range and time of day that they want the task fulfilled when scheduling a Servicd appointment. Our back-end algorithm will then intelligently pair the requester with a volunteer. We will also add a reschedule button to the confirmation page to give users more flexibility. Second, when the user got to the task confirmation page, they expected to immediately be able to see what date they booked. Our familiarity with the application caused us to overlook this important information on the status of users booking their Servicd appointment. As a result of this feedback, we will add extra information on the confirmation page to show what day and time the helper is booked to come. The related visual changes are shown in the table below:
From Paper to Figma: Digital Mockup
Our interactive digital prototype is linked here.
In addition to the revisions above, we made additional changes based on user testing and other feedback when we moved to the digital prototype. We changed the main color from a bright green to a dark blue for accessibility reasons. This new color allows for higher contrast on all of the important interactive components. Additionally, we added navigation at the top of each page you stepped through. This allows the user to be aware of what step of the process they are in, and makes the “back” and “cancel” buttons more consistent and clear. We also made our website left-aligned to aid readability. Finally, we slightly modified the select helper flow to allow the user to select a time and date when they choose their helper.
Top navigation and time selection change:
Left alignment change:
Final Overview Image
Task 1 Walkthrough: Creating a Servicd Task Appointment
1. User clicks “Sign Up” button.
2. User inputs basic information and clicks “Sign Up” button.
3. User clicks “Get help” button.
4. User clicks on the category that their task falls into.
5. User provides a task description, chooses a time frame, and provides their address. They click “find helper” to move to the next page.
7. The user chooses their desired helper and time. Helpers can be sorted by their rating or by how fast they can complete the task. Clicking on a “select helper” button will bring the user to step number (9). Clicking on “about” will bring the user to step number (8).
8. The helper info page allows the user to read more reviews before they select the helper. If they want to go back to the select helper page, they can click back. If they want to move forward with this helper they click “select helper.”
9. The user’s Servicd appointment is now confirmed and someone will come complete the task. Clicking on the “Home” button returns to home or they can reschedule with the “reschedule” button.
Task 2 Walkthrough: Leaving a review of a completed task
1. The user starts from the home page and clicks on a previously completed task with “Rate helper?” text available (In this case, the move sofa completed task)
2. The user fills out the form, selecting star rating, as well as leaving comments, and then clicks “Rate Helper”
3. The user is returned to the home page, but with the task they just rated no longer having the “Please rate your helper” text and instead having the text “Thank you for rating!” along with filled out stars instead of empty ones
Our research found that senior citizens value their independence but occasionally need assistance when performing household chores. Currently, senior citizens often rely on family members and people in the neighborhood to tackle demanding tasks like moving a heavy couch. Our solution is to provide an online platform where they can easily and quickly get help from trustworthy and useful volunteers. By focusing on usability and ease-of-access, we’ve developed an interface flow with very little friction for the user. We imagine that our platform will improve our users’ lives and their family members who are their current caretakers. We also expect that this will allow senior citizens to retain their dignity and independence longer by living comfortably within their own homes.