Stack has created the world’s first responsive lighting platform that offers occupancy sensing in addition to the comfort and safety of automated circadian lighting. For in-home care providers and senior communities, Stack's Care platform provides notifications and high-resolution resident activity monitoring and analytics.
My role at Stack: I headed Stack's design team and led the design of Stack’s web, iOS and Android apps, smart lights and hubs, marketing websites, packaging, and branding. I also advocated for user experience and launched Stack's research and usability testing processes.
The GOAL - Mobile and web app design
In two month's time, we needed to design and build an application from scratch to allow caregivers to review and customize senior residents' occupancy analytics and alerts.
- What are the most useful problems we can solve?
- What is the current process to resolve these problems?
- What devices make sense for this application?
We started by researching existing care activity monitoring products. In a comparison chart we reviewed features to see where there were gaps in the market that we could fill.
We found the biggest issue with existing systems was that they were disliked by the residents. Sensors were massive and attached to the walls like invasive video cameras and residents did not see a benefit to their use. Since Stack sensors are built into the bulbs, we could remove the tacky sensors from the walls, eliminate the hassle of batteries, and give residents the benefit of automatic, circadian lighting.
The user interfaces of the existing systems were outdated and often unintuitive. The best UI examples used a clean interface with colors to clearly represent problems in the community.
"The sensors need to be much more discreet or invisible."
-Care Community Staff Member
Caregivers: We visited a handful of care facilities and interviewed dozens of executives and staff members to find where we could have the biggest impact on their caregiving.
Card sorting activities led us to understand caregivers are most concerned about potential falls and making sure residents are up and about each morning. They also wanted a quick way to make sure residents were healthy - by tracking sleep and bathroom visits.
"Would love to have real time, actionable data; An at-a-glance resident monitoring system. We want to intervene before there is a crisis."
- Executive Director
"We need the alerts to be customizable per resident. Each resident's schedule can vary significantly."
- Community Manager
"The combination of having the dashboard on a desktop where people can log in on a regular basis and having the alerts sent to mobile devices is ideal."
- Care Innovation Manager
Care Community Residents: We also talked with our users who would be living with the product, including a conference workshop with IDEO (pictured below). From these interviews and in-home beta tests, we concluded that resident's were not comfortable with a software interface. We would need to make the lights completely automated.
"I have a cell phone - It's too small for me, but I have Uber and my bank that I use when my daughter visits."
"I don’t mind the color change; I feel like I'm going to start to get ready for bed. It changes my mood."
"I want to preserve privacy and independence except in case of emergency."
Based on our user research, there were a handful of personas who would be interacting with our product. We had care community residents of varying abilities, caregivers responding to alerts, and executives overseeing the system.
These personas were used as a reference for feature prioritization decisions as well as developing user experience through scenario thought exercises.
Sleep switch design
The first design challenge was making sure the residents could use the system without a software interface. This required a way for them to put the system to sleep at night; We needed a switch that kept the lights off and the motion sensors active.
After several rounds of testing prototypes, we found that users were most comfortable with something that functioned similar to a standard light switch. We kept the buttons large, and color contrast high for ease of use. Residents could either set the switch on their nightstand or mount it upright with the optional wall plate.
FLOW CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT
Next, we walked through the staff's experience and how they currently respond to alerts. We found that we could simplify the process by replacing pagers with smart phones. This also gave the benefit of tracking results digitally rather than the current paper process.
With the flow in mind, we laid out wireframes. These allowed us to quickly organize features on devices and screens based on user and level of importance.
Features such as lighting control and alert response would need to be on the phone for access by caregivers on the go. Analytics history and alert customization were kept in the web app for executive review.
user interface ideation
With the feature wireframes organized, the team came up with a variety of ways we could display this content. We chose to move forward with a concept reflecting Google's Material Design best practices to ensure we could build this as quickly as possible while maintaining an intuitive user experience.
high fidelity User experience flow
Combining the wireframes and interface designs, I laid out the app's flow for both mobile and web.
Product testing & refinement
With the screens built I put together prototypes and tested them out at care communities. We wanted to make sure the apps were intuitive to use and that the designs met the needs we found during research.
After several tests, we found that the alert resolution flow was causing confusion. We rebuilt multiple flow options and retested them to insure the final design was as clear and simplistic as possible while maintaining functionality.
Mobile: The final home page design allows caregivers to quickly review their communities' care status. Residents needing assistance rise to the top of the screen in order of importance. With two taps, caregivers can resolve alerts, let other caregivers know they are on their way, or choose to deep dive into a specific resident's history. Of course, traditional Stack Lighting controls are available on the resident's pages for those that need granular control.
Web: Similar to the mobile application, the web home page gives a dashboard overview of the care community. On each resident's page, community executives can review sleep and bathroom history to make sure there are no health concerns. In both community and resident settings, executives can customize settings to specific needs.
The details of the design pull the apps together: loading screens, error messages, empty states, support pages, and more.
"Our staff isn't computer savvy and I could see them being able to easily use this"
"I like how the alerts rise to the top; you don't have to scroll."
"So much easier to visually follow than any product I've used like it"
Stack's Care platform was selected as the winner of the Aging2.0 Global Startup Search, an annual competition that selects the best aging-focused startup from hundreds of companies across the world. Stack is currently live in beta in senior communities.