Designing a Program for Healthy Ageing

This Program was developed during an Design Sprint for OpenIDEO Fall Prevention Challenge. An interactive experience for the seniors who do not like to change their lifestyle. Many elderly people like to use modern technologies such as smartphones. It is their way of showing that they are young at heart.

Problem: Consider this persona:

Mark (63) is a Graphic Designer who has lost his job. Even though he does freelancing, he is mostly anti-social. Due to high blood pressure, his doctor advised him to do cardio exercises. He takes a couple of cardio exercise classes, but drops them because he thinks that he can do them on his own. Also, when spoken to his wife (57), she indicates that Mark does not do as much cardio as he was advised to do by his doctor.

Goal: Creating healthy living habits among the elderly people who are enthusiastic about technology, but do not want to change their lifestyle.

Tools: Rapid prototyping, UX design, human factors design, Journey maps


After research and ideation, it was decided to create a mobile app that connects the physical activity of the person to a doctor. We are assuming that if a doctor prescribes the app to the patient, it is far more believable for him/her to use the app. It is very important that the app is not boring like the current fitness apps.


So we came up with a game called Walking Alive. In walking alive, an avatar on the phone mimics the action or gestures performed by the user.

For example, if the user is in the subway, and using the app, to remain safe, the person must be either seated or holding a railing. If the train is crowded, and the person is standing, the game will ask the user what to do. Say the railing is on the top, then the user can simply raise their phone to indicate that the railing must be held.

How does this prevent falls? The person will be alert and know what to do when in a situation such as above. He/she will subconsciously be reminded to hold the railing while standing on the subway.

Consider another example: If the the doctor recommends that the patient has to walk for a certain amount of time or distance, then the avatar can move as if it was walking. So, when the patient visits the doctor for a check up the next time, the data from the phone can be used to actually confirm that the patient is doing the recommended activities.

The idea is to simply create awareness of staying alert so that the elderly do not fall by accident, and along with it, remain healthy.

Having many different scenarios in the game will help the elderly be aware of different dangerous situations.

For graphic designers like Mark, we can also have a build your own scenario and share it with the community of people who use the game, so that they can enjoy it as well. A role-playing prototype was created o demonstrate this idea.