WALK THIS WAY - A ROUTE PLANNING APP FOR OLDER ADULTS
Year: 2014 | Georgia Tech | Advisor: Dr. Jon Sanford | Partner: Gen Li | Skill: Heuristic Evaluation, Rapid Prototyping, Usability Testing | Role: UI/UX Design
Adults aging with long term ambulatory disabilities generally use familiar outdoor routes that fit their functional abilities. However, the onset of age-related comorbid functional losses associated with progressive chronic conditions such as MS, Parkinson’s and ALS, create a new set of environmental challenges that often exceed the abilities of these individuals, even on long-used route. Despite these challenges, the real barrier to outdoor mobility is the lack of information with which to plan safe and appropriate alternative routes. Building on prior work of Disease Control Healthy Aging Network (CDC-HAN), this project develops and evaluates the feasibility of a mobile app to inform outdoor route planning by people aging with ambulatory disabilities who are experiencing comorbid functional losses.
To include general features of a map app, such as searching location, navigation
To be able to collect both the relatively static features of the environment such as sidewalk condition, street networks, characteristics of land use, as well as the dynamic attributes such as traffic volumes, weather, and light quality, which are monitored close to real time.
To provide a decision support system for route planning, including:A rating system for the user to rate the route parameters, andA measure system to access walkability of the route according to the user’s preference settings.
To provide flexible accessibility preference options to meet the need for different population, especially for the aged users.
Modify the CDC-HAN environmental audit tool (HEAT) to include barrier/facilitator and personal preference data relevant to target users;
Develop the database structure and the analytical hierarchy process for weighting preference factors;
Develop information architecture and work flow of the app;
Develop a simple and intuitive user interface;
Evaluate app usability with target users;
Refine the app based on evaluation data.
Some selected user interfaces with distinct features are shown below. First-time users press “sign up” and they will go through a tutorial. Otherwise, users press “log in” and go to homepage which is a map view. In order to make it easier for users with vision impairment to locate the basic buttons, we locate the buttons at the 4 corners of the screen so that with certain types of cellphone case, they could find the buttons without looking at them. Also, these buttons are consistent in every screen, so they wouldn't confuse the users.
At the first time use, users should set their preference first. Go to parameters setting, after tapping on any parameter, a pop-up window will show options for this parameter:
Information – what this information means and how it might affect your walk; Set as essential – if you definitely need to consider this parameter to improve your walk; Set as secondary – if you’d like to consider but not necessarily need to; No preference – if you don’t care about this parameter.
Since we are trying to provide at least one optimal route that meets all essential parameters, we decide it’s necessary to limit the number of essential parameters.
According to the parameter preferences, the app provides 3 route options with the trouble spots marked, which means the sports that your essential parameters are not met. The default route is the one with least trouble spots. Users can tap to switch the highlighted route. To see which parameters are not met, the user can either tap on the warning mark, or listen to the audio interpretation. After selecting, users press “next” to start navigation.
During the walk, along with the navigating directions, the app will also send out alerts corresponding to the parameter preferences. For example, if the user set Slope as an essential parameter and on certain segment of the selected route steep slope exists, the app will send out an alert saying “STEEP SLOPE AHEAD” when the user is approaching that segment. The alert comes in three formats: display with high contrast on the screen, audio warning and vibration. For people with poor vision or moving in a wheelchair, it’s important to be informed and prepared to avoid or confront the barrier.