enLight digital music player

Introduction

This project focused on designing a digital music player for a target group of our choice. The goals for this project were the following:

—design product interactions that support the emotional connection between people and their music within the given context that make people feel better about the role they enact
—extend the themes previously identified in the design of music players, including contextual integration, social interaction, and the connection between the product and the enacted social role

My group and I decided to take on the challenge of developing a product for the elder population (ages 65–95).

Process

Figuring out themes after doing user research

One of many concept scenarios /sketching by Zhen Zeng

Another concept sketch /sketching by Zhen Zeng

Another concept sketch /sketching by Zhen Zeng

Figuring out themes after doing user research
One of many concept scenarios /sketching by Zhen Zeng
Another concept sketch /sketching by Zhen Zeng
Another concept sketch /sketching by Zhen Zeng
Figuring out themes after doing user research thumbnail
One of many concept scenarios /sketching by Zhen Zeng thumbnail
Another concept sketch /sketching by Zhen Zeng thumbnail
Another concept sketch /sketching by Zhen Zeng thumbnail

We started by doing user research; observing elders in their everyday life, asking them about their lifestyles and familiarity with technology, and simply listening to the stories they had to share. We also did some competitive analysis, looking in different retail stores and online to see what was being offered to elders in the digital music market.

We proceeded to come up with some meta-level design concepts; what we knew the elders enjoyed, and the forms, shapes, and interactions that they were familiar with. We used different brainstorming methods, including a trip to Target to do some interaction relabeling, as well as trying some bodystorming.

Afterwards, we produced storyboards that included some more specific design concepts, and took these to some elders for feedback. During these initial concept validation sessions we also did more observations at elders’ homes to really try and get a feel of what it was like to be an elder, and to look into their needs.

Solution

Over the two months of this project, we realized that music had the most impact on the lives of the active creative elder; that is, the elder that was still active in pursuing hobbies on an everyday basis. This became our more specific target user group.

Surveying the active elder’s life, we saw that their task lamp was the most important tool in their workroom, and took a central place in this space. We then decided to integrate our music player into a task lamp.

We kept the interactions to a minimum, and any interactions that you could do with the lamp were very simple and intuitive.

We feel that our solution to the problem broke the stereotypical design for elders; we went beyond big buttons and big LCD screens and designed something that could easily fit into any elder’s life. Our solution catered to the four main issues that arose during our intial research:

—inspiration (using music as an inspiration to their hobbies)
—tangibility (ability to keep their physical collection of music)
—living simply (no clutter around the house!)
—need to share (keeping a connection between couples)