Now week three has arrived, which is hard to believe as I feel just like yesterday I was writing my first blog post about how my honours project has just got underway.
Moving on from last week, which was a bit of an adventure, I had originally intended to go down to see my mum and walk with her to gain further insights to the area I was designing for. Although down to bad weather and then a flat tyre, it meant that I’ve had to postpone it for the time being, although not to worry, I have not waited around for things to happen. I had stayed in, look up a few online prototyping tools, which you can find in my last blog post, before my presentation the following week.
After my Project presentation, which was announcing to my group and to my lecturers exactly what route I was planning to go down.
Here is the structure the presentation was to be put in:
My motivation is to help people who have limited mobility, and help find it easier to travel from
A to B and not feel unconfident about making such journeys on their own. My mother struggles a
lot with this, hence my motivation for this idea.
One in three adults in England don’t manage 30 minutes of physical activity per week
Being inactive can take three to five years off your life.
If everyone in England were sufficiently active, nearly 37,000 deaths a year could be prevented.
Being active promotes mental health and wellbeing. It improves self-perception and self-esteem, mood and sleep quality, and it reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue.
I plan to investigate the ways my mum currently struggles to make certain journeys by accompanying her on a route she would normally take. I want to observe her confidence and challenges she must overcome, as well as the social aspect and reaction to the
people around her.
Areas I have investigated so far:
Community severance – or the “barrier effect” – happens when the transport system limits people’s mobility, instead of facilitating it. It has found that people who cannot travel have poorer health.
Complete Streets (In USA):
Complete Streets are streets for everyone. They are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities.
Apps on the market:
I have seen a few different apps on the market, as well as websites, which cater to different ways of travel. One of these websites is called Walkit.com. It investigates different ways of making a journey as well as different themes. It is very interesting, although the user interface is a little dated.
Key Insights so far (based on a conversation with my mum):
-Scared of falls
-Routes (Loud & Busy)
– Grass or Concrete
– Would like to know if there is a lift or where the facilities are in big shops
– Falling strips you of your dignity – leaving you sometimes being to over-cautious
– The simple tasks you took for granted are now no more, which effects your confidence
– Pushing yourself too far in the process which could flare up any type of physical conditions
– Does not go near roads which are busy, tends to go back streets, would plan journeys on that basis.
My main points of interests:
Confidence: The aim is to try and increase the confidence of the user. I want it to be a gradual goal that would be worked towards over a series of walks/journeys.
Social aspect: To increase the social life by going on trips to see friends and family. Being able to spend time with them can only encourage the user to step outside the house.
Wellbeing: To improve the overall feeling of wellbeing for the user. It is important for the user to be happy with their life and be able to get about that could increase their life expectancy.
To create a companion app that can accompany you to outside spaces and assist people in taking simple journeys. It must have a simple interface that gives the user useful information about their planned trip – while building their confidence, social life and wellbeing.
The brief is obviously subject to change over the course of the coming weeks, as my ideas and research shape the final outcome.
I was given the feedback that it would be useful to go and speak to some organisations, rather focus completely just on my mum, which is exactly what I decided to put to the top of my to-do list.
The first organisation I got in contact with was an organisation called Paths for All, which is a Scottish charity. Their slogan is ‘We champion everyday walking as the way to a happier, healthier Scotland.’ I had contacted them for some insight into exactly what mental effect walking has had on the people who take part and if they had any case studies.
Lucky for me, my point of contact Nicola, who was the Community Development Officer for several areas which included Dundee and was most helpful in directing me in the right area. The organisation had several case studies about how the initiative has helped people from all walks of life and the impact walking has had on them. Better still, Nicola sent through an academic report, which was full of great statistics and insights into not only the mental aspect but the physical aspect of walking.
What I need to do now is compile all of the data I have acquired so I can start to define my project, but first of all I need to go on that journey with my Mother, to understand better first-hand how walking is helping her and the challenges she faces when walking, to try and cater for her and other on how not only rewarding walking can be but how demanding it can be. If I can understand why walking is so important for the people I am designing for, including my mum, then maybe more people in similar situations will head out more.
This will allow me to then develop personas, pull my findings into topics to put some restraints on the research. I also need to investigate more similar technology that is currently on the market.