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Value Proposition

Deliver a senior-friendly chat tool that offers an easy way for seniors to talk to their family and friends, with a remote assistance feature for when they need help, and a simple user interface.

Why Design

I have a video call with my parents almost every day. They complained that some features were too difficult, while others they never used. I tried many different ways to teach them how to use it, but unfortunately they still had trouble.  Sometimes they forgot what I taught them after some time had passed. That's why I decided to build a chat tool for seniors.


User's Goal

  • Have a feature which allows someone to assist with the phone settings.

  • Have a simple user interface which only offers necessary features.

Designer's Goal

  • Design an intuitive interface that takes low effort for seniors to learn.

  • Make sure it's a senior friendly chat tool.

Major Challenges
  • Some apps are too complicated to use.

  • It's easy to forget how to set the app up, even after they have done it several times.

  • Heavy text in the app is not friendly for seniors.

  • Some necessary features are not available.

Core feature #1

Simple interface

The navigation bar contains only four icons, which avoids confusion and is easy to learn.

The personal account page follows this standard of simplicity with only four icons, for access to commonly used tasks.

Feature Overview

Core feature #2

Senior-friendly feature

In the chat window, the Message Reader feature is available to speak messages, if the user has difficulty reading the text.

All icons are large size. The icons use easily understood pictures, rather than stylized and possibly confusing images.

Core feature #3

Remote admin

Since the remote admin icon is new, hovering the mouse on this icon will show its function. This feature allows the user to set up a person as their remote admin. Whenever the user needs someone to assist with the app, the authorized person can operate remotely.

Core feature #4


The settings page only has eight icons: SOS, remote admin, screen reader, language exchange, text size, questions & feedback, profile, and online customer service. These are the simple and necessary features.

Words From Users

" The remote admin feature is really helpful, I'm tired of learning how to use chat apps. That will be wonderful if someone could help me to set up the app remotely. "                                                                                                        —— from Betty

" I like the interface.  It doesn't have too many features in the app, which only make me confused. The app offers several features which already suit my needs. I feel all the pages are clear and simple."                                                      —— from Yunhu



I began with some secondary research to gain a better understanding of senior technology trends, and the Top Challenges for Seniors Using Technology. I then conducted interviews to learn about people’s various experiences with chat platforms.

Through my research, I wanted to:

  • Understand the market trends of chat platforms

  • Identify chat app’s competitors, and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses 

  • Understand the users’ experiences with other chat platforms

  •  Discover the goals, needs, motivations, and frustrations of users

Market Research

To learn more about the senior technology trends and Top Challenges for Seniors with Using Technology in general, I started my market research with the help of Google. I gained a more thorough understanding of the industry, to better inform my design decisions moving forward. Here are some of my key insights:

Seniors technology trend

  • 79% of those aged 50 – 64 and 53% of those aged 65 and older own smartphones. 

  • ​40% of those aged 65 and older use social media.

  • 46% of seniors who use social media use Facebook, and 38% use YouTube, but only 8% use Instagram, and 7% use Twitter, and a miniscule 3% use Snapchat.

  • Seniors who see technology as a way to solve a problem or meet a need are more likely to take time to learn new things.

Top Challenges for Seniors Using Technology

  • Visual functions decrease as people age. 

  • Many older adults respond to technological change with scepticism and being intimidated, which inhibits them from trying out new technology.

  • Older adults learn best with one-on-one and hands-on tutorial. 

  • ​Information overload can occur for older individuals who are just starting to get familiar with the internet.

  • Aside from the physical and health-related factors that hinder the success of seniors using technology, they will also need help in adapting to a new behavior of using gadgets and digital tools.

Competitive Analysis

After learning more about the industry, I wanted to take a closer look at Senior Chat App competitors and what kind of services they offer to users. What are their weaknesses and strengths? Through my market research, I identified some top direct and indirect competitors within the industry:






  • Simple interface.

  • Focus on entertainment and communication areas which seniors are interested in.


  • Use of superior technology

  • Early mover advantage

  • Huge customer base 

  • No major bugs in the application

  • Supports all platforms



  • Having more than 900 million active users

  • Special Features – ‘Mini program”,”find friend nearby”

  • An excellent user experience

  • ​Large user base with many active users 

  • Easy for business

  • Open and free platform

  • Accessibility

  • Better Viewing Rate

  • Large Distribution Network


  • Up to 10 users

  • Users need to pay for it



  • Data privacy remains a concern for users

  • Cannot function without internet

  • Data privacy problem

  • Problems of censorship on its site

  • Many allegations


  • Not global app, most of the users are Chinese.

  • Privacy of data




Oscar Family

User Interview

We had casual interviews with 10 people to understand their stories. While the questionnaires helped us to define the pain points, the real stories provided an opportunity to establish empathy for our users. They helped us to define potential use cases and user experience flows.


Sharing pics with friends

Grandma lives alone. Gardening is her favorite hobby, and she likes to share pictures of her beautiful garden with friends and family.

Talk to family members on holidays

Family members live in different states. Grandma would like to see all of her family members during the holidays. Grandma needs someone to help her join the Zoom meeting.

Group chat with friends

Yunhu goes fishing with his friends. They need a group chat for scheduling times when all the members are available

User Personas

In our questionnaire, we found that users’ requirements for the app are based on their individual health situation. Therefore, we've decided to establish two user personas to define our potential users. Betty represents a group with common problems of elders. Yunhu represents a group of seniors with visual impairments, or hearing disorders.


What kind of chat app do you like?

"as simple as it can be."


  • To enjoy her retired life.

  • To share in her kids' lives through visits and chats.

  • To share her moments with her friends and family members.


  • She feels frustrated when using complicated app interfaces.

  • Text in the apps is very difficult to read.

  • She has difficulty remembering how to use the app.

Retired Nurse

Betty Houser

What kind of chat app do you like?

"easy to use for seniors."


  • To enjoy his retirement.

  • To have good chats with his daughter.

  • To chat with his fishing group.


  • He feels frustrated by the overly complicated User Experiences of some apps.

  • Text in the apps can be too small and difficult to read.

  • He has difficulty hearing message notifications.

Retired Engineer

Yunhu Bai



1. Most apps are too complicated to use.

2. There are too many features, which can be difficult to understand.

3. Seniors must spend a long time learning to use the app.


1. Most seniors are not familiar with new technology products.  That can make them frustrated.

2. Most seniors will continue to use apps they are familiar with, rather than undergo a learning curve with a new app. 

3. They feel embarrassed to ask for help repeatedly.


1. Seniors tend to forget things easily, even after learning once to use the app.

2. Seniors can easily forget the function of an icon.


User flow

Now I wanted to dive even deeper and get a better understanding of the overall journey the user would be taking throughout the app from start to finish. I wanted to better empathize with the scenario the user may be in, different decisions they would be making, and the different paths they might take to complete the key tasks I identified. To do this, I created a user flow to step into users’ shoes.

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We held brainstorming sessions to discuss the product features. We started from the question: What features may we have? We explored concepts within the session as a team, with a goal of defining design directions. 

Here are some examples of our discussions. 

Based on our brainstorm, and towards our goal to build a senior friendly chat app, what features are necessary for seniors?

Scenario #1   Forgot how to change the app settings

Remote admin assistant – In this case, users need help changing the app settings. With remote assistance, they won’t be limited by time and location.

Scenario #2   Complicated app interface 

The most important features are the necessary ones, and they must be simple. Unused features only cause confusion.

If we are going to build a chat app, do we need to include all social media features in the app?

No, one of the main challenges faced by seniors is that apps are too complicated, or confusing.  For that reason, in Senior Chat App, we focus on simplicity, and avoiding potential confusion.



Mid-fi wireframe

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Usability Test

For usability testing, I conducted remote, moderated Think Aloud testing over Zoom. The users were asked to share what they were doing, thinking, and feeling while interacting with the prototype and trying to complete the tasks given to them. I tested around the key tasks I identified earlier in the process:

Research goals

  • Determining if the Senior’s app is easy to use.

  • Identifying reasons why users are going to use the app.

What are the questions the research is trying to answer?

  • What stops users from completing tasks?

  • Which parts does the user find confusing?

  • How long does it take for a user to complete a task?

Key performance indicators

  • Time on task

  • User error rates

  • Drop-off rates


  • Moderated Usability Study, conducted remotely with participants. 

  • Location: United States, China, Australia.  Each participant will complete the study in their own home.

  • Date: Sessions will take place on December 11 and December 13. 

  • Length: Each session will last 10 to 15 minutes, based on a list of prompts.  

Priority Revision

Taking what I learned from the usability test, I revised my design to overcome sticking points in users' tasks.

1. Early designs only allowed for sending text and voice messages. After the usability studies, I added  "text reader" and "zoom" features. I also replaced the small “send” button with a bigger red button. 

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2. Yellow and white failed the color contract check, so I used yellow and black instead.  I also replaced the modern icon with the more realistic one.

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3. Early designs had standard settings, but after the usability studies, I added "SOS" and "Screen reader" features. SOS allows users to ask for help from a specific contact. Screen reader will read content for the user.

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UI Design


After making the revisions to my design to improve its usability, I now wanted to think about how we would convey the Senior Chat App brand visually. Senior’s branding reflects the attributes of Usability, Joy, Simplicity, and Clarity. I created the visual direction of the branding to convey that unique identity.

Mood Board

I first began by gathering inspiration on Pinterest - looking for different brand elements around their brand attributes. I looked at color palettes, typography, logos, and imagery which set the direction of their branding.

Logo Design

Now that I knew the direction of our branding, I started working on a logo that would represent the brand. I started by brainstorming around the key attributes, and then quickly sketched out various ideas that came to mind. Afterwards, I narrowed down my options to the one that I felt was the most successful in conveying the brand attributes.

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Visual System

After designing Senior’s logo, I worked on finalizing Senior’s visual identity, and created a style guide. For Senior’s branding, I focused on creating a balance between Senior’s joyful, friendly nature, while still maintaining simplicity. The rounded shapes provide a sense of structure, and the color palette is energetic, but not overpowering.

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Final Product
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