Technology can bring numerous benefits to seniors. However, unless interfaces consider their characteristics, advantages are likely to be missed.
Mobile phones, for example, have great acceptance rates among older adults. Nevertheless, due to the disregard for seniors’ characteristics during the design of mobile phone user interfaces, these users can often only perform a very limited number of tasks, such as receiving and making calls.
The most recent generation of mobile phones, known as smartphones, may allow for a more natural and intuitive interaction due to their touch-based user interfaces. For this reason, smartphones have the potential to nurture the integration of older adults into the information society, for instance, by giving them access to Web services.
Gociety, an enterprising company that believes in taking charge of your life through technology, alongside some of the best scientists and developers from Fraunhofer AICOS, have been working together towards developing a tool directed to enable seniors to not only perform common mobile phone tasks, such as sending messages, but also to provide a companion that supports their daily activities.
In similarity to Fraunhofer AICOS’ core values of enhancing people’s living standards by extending the reach of technology solutions, Gociety trusts in a future where said innovative technologies enable people of all ages to be a part of society within their capabilities.
Bearing in mind this understanding and common ground of integrating an increasingly large sector of the population in the Information and Knowledge Society, GoLivePhone® and GoLiveAssist® were created. The foundation of this project derives from Fraunhofer AICOS’ own solution: Smart Companion, an Android OS platform specifically designed to meet older adults’ needs and to help them overcome some limitations usually associated with aging.
GoLivePhone® is an Android customization that was specially designed to address seniors’ and their Caregivers’ goals and needs. It aims to be a very user-friendly smartphone, which takes away the normal complexity of the smartphone and is intended as a permanently available companion to support seniors in their daily activities, through a number of tools from messaging to medication reminders and from activity monitoring to fall detection support.
In addition, other features, such as voice to text, were added to support seniors with different characteristics.
Regarding user interface design, this project uses: larger fonts, to provide legibility; strongly sequential workflows, to reduce confusion caused by too many options; icons and labels in accordance with seniors’ mental models to avoid misunderstandings; and buttons for every gesture action available for less dexterous fingers.
GoLiveAssist® is a solution that allows caregivers to monitor remotely and provide support to the user of the GoLivePhone®. In addition, the caregiver will always be connected to the person they feel responsible for, and will be aware of their location and activity at all times, providing the necessary peace of mind.
At the moment GoLivePhone® supports the Dutch, English, French, German, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Maltese and Swedish languages.
GoLivePhone® and GoLiveAssist® are now available for purchase, with exclusive launch prices, at Gociety’s website.