Jennifer Morehead

Pool

Live Better, Together

Challenge

The initial goal was to examine the effects of social isolation in the senior population. This evolved to include users of all ages as I explored ways to connect local people in person to form meaningful relationships. The result was a closed mobile network concept for multi-resident communities called Pool.

Role

UX and Mobile Designer

Timeline

August 28 – December 12, 2019

Tools

Survey Monkey, Illustrator, Adobe XD, After Effects, Google Slides

Problem

Social isolation is rising due to heavy work schedules, segregated living situations and lack of meaningful relationships. It has become a leading cause of loneliness, depression and premature declines in mental health.

How might we enhance our living spaces to encourage social interaction and promote interpersonal connections?

"We live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s."

-Vivek H Murphy

Former Surgeon General of the U.S.

Research

“I really missed my work friends. I started volunteering to feel useful again. I’d like to meet more people in my neighborhood.”

Belinda, Retired Travel Agent

Social isolation is as bad for health as smoking

AARP

People who develop strong relationships retain sharper memories longer

Harvard's Grant & Gleuck Studies

Current Solutions

Social media can serve as a platform for complaining

Volunteering is often a one off and doesn't offer consistent interaction

Insights

Interviews indicated that people felt a level of trust and comfort with local neighbors even if they did not know them personally.

Online research showed the detrimental health effects of social isolation as well as the lack of options for stranger to connect and form new relationships.

Opportunity

Providing socialization for multi-resident communities could add competitive value.

Target Audience

  • Retired Older Adults
  • Single Adults
  • Busy Families

The target audience consists of people living in multi-resident communities who may be isolated from others due to lack of work network, lack of social groups, or busy schedules.

Initial Concept

A mobile hub for residents of multi-family residential communities, enabling them to connect with neighbors and share experiences.

Why Pool?

Pool (verb): to share with a group so they can work more effectively together

Features

  • Forum
  • Community
  • Rideshare
  • Echange

Value Proposition

  • Residents form new relationships, increase quality of life and aquire an additional support system
  • Property managers will attract more residents, happier residents will stay longer
  • Healthcare system will be less burdened with people staying mentally sharp longer, reducing their need for skilled care

Scenario: Marlene's printer won't work

Marlene is really frustrated, trying to print some photos of her grandkids.

She was so excited when her new printer came from Amazon this morning but she can’t get it to work

Marlene posts in the forum on Pool to see if anyone in her building has any tips. Sarah, a student on the third floor offers to come by and help her out.

After 10 minutes, the printer is working and Marlene thanks Sarah with a homemade cookie.

Outcome

Marlene has a person to person interaction with someone she might never have have met. Pool plants the seed for a new social connection in a trusted environment.

Concept Feedback

  • Closed network concept is not clear
  • Feature should feel more connected
  • Community should be the focus
  • Engagement should be encouraged
  • Not available to smaller multi-resident buildings

Features Updated

  • Refocused app around custom feed determined by interests
  • Removed carpool and buddy finder features
  • Expanded usage for smaller buildings to join neighboring networks by request

Features Added

  • Informative onboarding with walkthrough
  • Self-introduction post prompt
  • Prompt to help organize social events
  • Tagging posts for custom feed

Added Walkthrough

A big focus of the revised prototype was the onboarding flow. A quick walkthrough on entry was important for users to understand the purpose of the features and how to interact with them.

Updated Onboarding Flow

Humaaansicons by Pablo Stanley @ https://www.humaaans.com/

Improved Interaction

A community feed is the central focus of Pool. New users are prompted to introduce themselves int the feed with a quick video. Residents can post to the community, the events page, and the marketplace from anywhere in the app.

Prototype

Try Prototype

Promotional Video

Photos by @ https://www.pexels.com/

Icon by @ https://www.flaticon.com/

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."

-Helen Keller

Reflections

This project pivoted many times in the research phase. As much as I wanted to help seniors combat social isolation, the early concept feedback pointed me away from a tech solution for older adults. My professor reminded us to fall in love with the problem, not the solution. By opening up the target audience, I could still make and impact. Given more time, I would like to have done research with existing multiresidential communities that have social committees to get a service design perspective.