Personal Project: 2017-18
(Undergoing Second Iteration)
CoCare is a scheduling and collaboration app designed to help manage tasks and responsibilities among family caregivers to provide better support for their loved ones.
Personal Project: UX &
Research, ideation & visual design
December 2017 -
The Challenges of Caregivers
Over the last decade, the demographic of Canadians 65 years of age and older has significantly increased which has resulted in a greater demand for caregiving. A reoccurring theme among family caregivers is the constant stress and change they experience due to the level of mental and physical investment in providing constant support. An added stress can also be when multiple family members are involved in taking care of their loved one. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, conflicts often arise when there is a lack of organization and coordination amongst multiple caregivers. Consequently, the quality of care is significantly reduced while personal relationships are strained.
"Providing care for your parents can be complicated. When your brothers and sisters are also involved, caregiving can become even more complex. While your siblings can be enormously helpful and your best support, they can also be a source of stress."
-Family Caregiver Alliance
Understanding the User & Competitors
The target audience for this app would be young and middle-aged adults that are caregivers (18 - 55 years old) to their senior parents, relatives or grandparents living separately or in a care home for a long term period. Existing caregiver apps are often either highly complex with too many levels in the user flows or not intuitive enough, meaning that key features and navigation cannot be accessed easily during the user's journey.
Initial Research: Survey Results
The results from the Google Form revealed that about 77% of adult family caregivers sometimes experience frustration when organizing responsibilities among multiple caregivers and 10% experience frustration very often. On the other hand, 12.5% of individuals responded that they never experienced any frustration.
I interviewed adults with senior parents/relatives to get a better understanding of why it is frusturating to organize caregiver responsibilities and what their primary needs are. Through these interviews, I was able to validate that one of the most common challenges is the lack of consistent communication and documentation of responsibilities/tasks among groups of caregivers such as siblings taking care of their parents or grandparents. Based off my findings I decided to develop an app that would assist caregivers in managing and coordinating their responsibilities as a team.
Identifying the Users - Personas
Next I did a competitive analysis of existing caregiver apps (CareZone, Elder 411) to identify patterns, strengths and pain points. Based of my research, I defined three primary issues:
The information architecture of the apps was often too complicated due to the implementation of numerous features that serve the same purpose and having to navigate through many tabs or menus in user flows to access these features
Every app was missing at least one important function for caregivers such as, the ability to create a log of prescription medication or a health tracker that features a data visualization of the user’s health
Lack of privacy as users would be able to openly view each other’s caregiver profiles and sensitive information about other care recipients (name, address, etc.)
How might we design a tool that assists families in effectively managing and coordinating their caregiver responsibilities, thereby maintaining the overall health of the care recipient?
Based on my research, I determined that the core features this app would need to have are the following:
Timeline of updates or notifications that can be viewed by all caregivers
Calendar that synchronizes all tasks and appointments to all user accounts and allows users to assign tasks to team members
List of prescription medication taken by care recipient which includes daily reminders, dosage and notifications for refills
Data visualization of health log (i.e. blood pressure, blood sugar, etc.)
Option to create multiple private accounts that can be easily toggled or switched
Health record that can be instantly accessed in case of emergencies
Research & Low-Fidelity Sketches
Sync & share
Easily view updates and comments from other members on your CareTeam. As an administrator of the account, you have full control over who can access information about your loved one.
Organize tasks & events
Organize appointments and other caregiver responsibilities using the scheduling feature. Any new events are automatically synced to your team members' accounts.
Keep Track of Medications
Ensure that you are staying up to date and organised about your loved one's medication intake. This feature indicates which medication needs to be taken according to the day while also providing reminders when the dose is close to running out.
Keep track of your loved one's health by regularly inputting data into the health tracker. This feature allows you to monitor vital aspects of health including blood pressure, blood glucose, heart rate and more.
organize Multiple CareTeams
Set up as many CareTeam accounts as needed and switch between them with ease. This way, all your loved ones are always receiving the best care from you.
Quick access to information
Input important information about your loved one so that you and your CareTeam always has access to it when it is necessary.
What I learned throughout the process of creating this app was that conducting primary research and taking the time to understand the central user is absolutely essential to greater usability and memorability. Another key takeaway from this project was that designing for healthcare can be both rewarding and challenging. This area is especially sensitive when it comes to research, testing and gathering insights due to the fact that it often concerns patients or other vulnerable groups. Therefore, it is essential to follow correct procedures during the research stage and also to ensure that proper design principles are followed when designing the interface to ensure that it is accessible and effectively supports the user in a way that impacts their live positively.
Final prototype coming soon!
(In the meantime please enjoy the brief demo below).