Our group chose to focus the elderly consumers as we feel that they are often a neglected group as there were more products catering to the needs and wants of the younger consumers. However in recent years, there has been an increasing number of companies creating products and services especially for the elderly consumers. As such, we decided to put our attention on this particular age group.

Through our own personal observation, we noticed that the elderly consumers have a tendency to forget to lock up their metal grilles and main door of their house. There were also cases where they would leave the key in the keyhole. This forgetfulness of theirs made them especially vulnerable to house break-ins. The secondary research and interview with my friend who was in the Singapore Police Force during his National Service confirmed our observation as elderly home alone are the most vulnerable group of home residents to in house break-ins. With these, our group decided we need to design a product which would make elderly residents less susceptible to break-ins.

The brainstorming process of what product/ service was the most challenging and PAINFUL as I feel it would affect the rest of the stages. To aid us in the brainstorming process, we went and search for ideas on how to improve home security and spoke to some elderly residents on this issue. After numerous MISERABLE brainstorming sessions, Hong Ting came up with the idea of improving the padlock such that it comes with its own padlock holder (so it would ‘hang’ in mid air and would not come crashing to the floor or worse the foot of our rather fragile elderly after the padlock is unlocked.)

After several weeks of presentation, we received numerous feedback from the class. Based on the feedback, user evaluation and heuristic evaluation, our group has arrived with the final product which we think would serve our users’ needs and enhance their experience of locking/unlocking their metal grilles, padlock and main door.

Our final product has evolved from the padlock to this (This is our high fidelity prototype which took 10 hours to complete!)

It has the following features:

These sensors is part of the auto-locking system which will be intergrated into the metal grilles. It works by detecting the presence of the key which has a chip embedded in it (think ezlink card).

Sliding metal grilles
Our group decided to make the metal grilles to have the ability to slide. This would allow elderly with mobility issues (e.g. the wheelchair bound residents) to have an easier time entering/ leaving their homes. The current metal grilles is quite inconvenient for physically disabled elderly consumers to use.

Push button
This feature will be installed on the metal grilles and the main doors to replace the lever. This feature is included to make the process of opening the metal grilles and main door less strenuous on their joints.

Conventional key
In the event the product malfunctions, our elderly consumers can still use the conventional key to gain access to their homes.

I personally feel that our product will be well-received by our target audience. In fact, I feel our product will be popular among other house owners of other age groups.

We faced numerous challenges and obstacles during the course of this project. One prominent obstacle faced was the interviewing our target consumers (elderly consumers). Due to the language barrier, I had a hard time communicating with my interviewee because both of us are limited in Mandarin and she can’t converse in English. So I had to rely on my parents for help in translation. At the same time, I spent a significant amount of time persuading my interviewee to let me conduct the interview and the prototype evaluation (just to list a few examples). I also tried to persuade my interviewee to allow me to take photographs of her interacting with our prototype but I obviously failed…

In conclusion, the project has allowed me to gain a better appreciation of the products currently available in the market because I know of the effort and thought these manufacturers have put into creating a good product.