Cafe Stories

I believe in technologically advanced world we are not treating elderly people fairly. Either they are being ignored or left behind due to either their sensory deficit or incompetency of using available technology, and that is one of the possible cause of social isolation among them.

There are possibly different angles to look at them as someone who is currently underserved, or someone who has a tremendous pool of knowledge which can be still relevant and useful, However, how to make it accessible to others is an important question of exploration.

Continuous research about elderly people shows some alarming facts that more than 20% of European citizens will be 65 or older by 2025, so there is a pressing need to secure the well-being of the aging population. Therefore, as part of my final project I came up with a service called “Cafe Stories.”

Cafe Stories focuses on the cause and effect of social isolation on elderly people living in Denmark. Using the physical spaces of local city cafes, the platform fosters experience sharing activities between elderly and young people. The platform builds on the existing social networking services like Facebook to target the youth and involves elderly visiting the local activity centers or recently retired. City cafes act as the place where both parties meet and share their personal stories.

In this two months long project. I spent initial a few days learning more about social isolation from Denmark point of view and as part of that, I did desk research, conducted user & expert interviews and visited a couple of activity centers to understand the situation of elderly people more carefully.
After gathering enough information, I followed user-centered design process and synthesized all my findings formed key insights, HWM, which led to productive brainstorming sessions and out of that finalized the possible solution direction that was about to create a service to exchange skills, knowledge, experience in between elderly and young people.

I performed four rounds of experience prototype where each one of them was inspired by the learnings from the earlier one. In the end, it came out as a digital service that has an Ipad app specially designed for the use of elderly people and to attract young people it uses existing social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

For experience prototypes, I contacted Ole(76 yrs. old, retired architect) who I also interviewed. After taking his approval, I designed many of his posters and started posting them on city cafe’s Facebook pages, universities, streets, etc. We both started going out to city cafes and sitting there and waiting for the young people to come to have the conversation with Ole. To my surprise, it went quite well, without any favor, many young people came to talk to him and enjoyed the conversation. In the end, Retro Cafe Norrebro liked the idea and hosted a grand event for Ole.