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A service that reinforces seniors' self-esteem through connectting seniors and society

Time:  Aug 2017.

Team members: Yiwei, Polar, Linya, Vivian, Sue, Kerwin.

My Role: User research, User interview, Rapid prototype, video director.



In 2016, the population of people older than 60 in China is up to 2.2 billion, who make up 18% of the total population in China. Among them, the empty-nesters are over 51millions. With the increasing population in the aged people, there is a common problem among them — Depression.


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In order to relieve the pain, we designed a service that helps them share precious experiences to people in need. The service provider —— Triangle,  could help seniors transform their experience into valuable asset, aims to associate seniors with various institutions that are in need of seniors' experience to facilitate their cooperation by integrating information and providing considerate services during the process in order to encourage the seniors to participate in social activities, accordingly rebuild their confidence.


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My grandmother is one of the seniors living alone, she always sits at home for the whole day with no things to do. I felt so guilty and hope the project could ease her pain.


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The literature review was conducted first to help us find out the possible reasons behind elderly depression and the current treatment options which could provide a theoretical basis.
Possible Reasons:
  • Physical deterioration: Weakening body conditions may make them feel they are approaching the end of life.
  • Lack of Self-esteem: Loss of income may make them feel becoming a burden of their families.
  • Detachment from society: Loss of their jobs and friends circle.
  • Lack of family accompanies: Especially for seniors living alone. 
Current ways to help seniors reduce depression:
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We visited the Hangzhou No.3 Assisted Living Facility, one of the biggest assisted living facilities in Hangzhou, China. We interviewed 6 seniors to understand what they think about their lives and emotion get more about major causes. We also interviewed 2 healthcare workers, and an officer to understand seniors' emotion change and daily life in the third person.  By observing and interviews, we analysed the current experience of seniors.  
However, we found out some problems from interviews and observations:
  • Seniors in the assisted living facility have stable friend circle and various daily activities.

  • The assisted living facility we went to was different from others, most of the seniors are prominent intellectuals.


So we decided to do the second round user research to balance different groups' proportions. We went to 3 normal communities, 1 local supermarket, and 1 assisted living facility to observe and collect information. 

Key insights from two rounds interviews and observations are:
  • Most of the seniors are afraid of being a burden.

  • Seniors with high income or good career before feeling more detachment from society after retirement.

  • Seniors like to share their life stories.

  • Seniors tend to believe they would experience the same life until they died.

  • The stereotype that seniors are weak and useless would affect their self-cognition.



At the beginning of the ideation phase, we've brainstormed lots of different ideas based on the insights we found and pick two concepts to do the user testing by the following factors. 
At the beginning of the ideation phase, we've brainstormed lots of different ideas based on the insights we found and pick two concepts to do the user testing by the following factors. 

Concept 1


Local Inner-net

Building an inner-net for the elders within the living facilities allowing them to know more about their neighbors by watching others' life stories and thus make better social connections.

During the test, however, we found that elders were normally quite confused by the system and expressed insecure with electrical device and system.

Concept 2


Overall the solution is a service helping seniors to eliminate feelings of emptiness and depression after retirements. The strategy we designed consists of three main parts:



User Evaluation

We brought the solution back to visit the seniors again and asked them for feedback. Moreover, we also contacted local institutions such as museums, schools, farms etc, who were in need of experienced experts. The evaluation process proved the effectiveness of our solution and provided us with some constructive insights:

  • Two-thirds of the elders were excited about these activities, through which they could fulfill themselves and create values. They also mentioned that this could make them less feel like burdens to other family members.

  • Some elders were a little bit confused about our broadcasting methods. They hope to add new sign-up ways such as directly writing to the office.

  • Local institutes, especially museums and farms, showed strong interests to cooperate with us. Normally they had to pay high salaries to employ experts in relevant fields, such as agriculture or history, but now seniors could become cheaper but more precious experts with their own life experiences! Besides, activities like these could help the institutes to form and maintain positive social reputation.

  • Several institutes showed concerns about the seniors' safety during the activity. By further communication with seniors and other stakeholders, we raised a proposal to solve the problem by inviting the institute to buy senior health insurance as part of the remuneration.


1. Seniors are precious

Seniors' rich experiences are unique and precious resources of the society! These experiences can be transformed into values and in this way bring them a sense of achievements


2. Connection

Triangle, a service platform, is the pivot of the whole system. Triangle acts as a media between institutes and seniors. It also facilitates their cooperation by giving services along the whole process.


3. Share experience to help others

Institutes or people in need would provide opportunities for seniors with various remuneration. In return, they can get professional assistance from the seniors at lower prices than hiring younger experts. Moreover, they could set up good corporate images. 


4. Easy to seniors

After noticing the easily-accessible news (e.g. newspaper or billboard) broadcasted by Triangle, they can directly contact Triangle to sign up for the activities of their interest. They are also invited to give remarks afterward.`



VIDEO 1 _Triangle
Play Video



Triangle was named after the "triangle-shape" relationship of the three components. The logo is made of a triangle shape and the Chinese character pattern inside. The word ”不老“ in Chinese had a meaning of ”not being old“.

Triangle aims to act like:

  • A spotlight: Revealing the valuable resources seniors have accumulated through their lives.

  • A bridge: Giving the society access to seniors instead of integrating them into society.

  • A bell: Trying to break the society’s stereotype towards the seniors.

It is not helping seniors in job searching. Instead, it tries to offer better mental support for seniors. There could be further detailed senior-friendly services like reminders, pick-ups and health insurance, etc. 

Meet our amazing team!


© 2018 by Yiwei Xu. Thanks for your coming.

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