Project Scope

To build an easy-to-use, personalized technology assistant for the elderly population to resolve their tech queries and challenges.

Inception:

2017

Duration:

Soft launch in 6 Months (MVP).

Current Status:

Project closed with 100% client satisfaction.

Team:

1 Project Manager,
1 iOS developer,
1 Product Designer,
1 Tech-Leader,
1 Principal Designer

How It Started: A Startup’s Vision to Bridge the Digital Divide Among Senior Citizens

In August 2017, we at Digicorp were approached by an entrepreneur who was on a mission to make everyday technologies like smart phones and laptops easy to use and operate for the elderly population in the U.S.

When we delved deeper into the problem in discussion with the client, we could see that it was indeed a pressing challenge for most senior citizens to carry out even the most basic and important functions on various electronic devices like placing a call on a touch screen phone, launching an app, searching something on the internet or even changing the password. 

The project scope excited us immensely as it was not limited to mere product development. It was an end-to-end branding and product building exercise for a niche market and had the potential to provide a solution to a wide-spread problem in the country.

Research, User Persona and Product Understanding

Since there were no comparable products in the market specifically addressing this problem at that time, we jumped head-on into meticulous research through user interviews, client interactions and lean product modelling. Several aspects of the target user persona emerged during this process:

  • The app must be extremely simple and easy to use – it should not be another tech-heavy product that confuses the elderly.
  • The product should have a brand persona that appeals to the age group of 50 years and above – this made us come up with the idea of creating a brand mascot representing a teenager who can be perceived by the senior citizens as their loving grandchild.
  • The product should be highly interactive and handhold the users – it should not be a list of instructions dumped on a screen. Instead, it should wait for the user to complete a step and then prompt the next step. 

Creation of TechTommie Brand – Identity, Association and Messaging

Brand Visualization

A cross-functional team consisting of branding experts and designers carried out an extensive branding exercise for TechTommie. We first sketched out the visual of the mascot by assigning the identity of a spectacled teenage girl with whom the users can easily associate. Since TechTommie was built as a highly interactive platform with textual, visual and voice commands, the brand identity was further strengthened by adding further brand attributes like language, messaging, voice tone and timbre.

Voice Optimization

Voice was a critical aspect to be tackled for various app features like ‘Talk to Tommie’ and ‘Ask a Question’ to work well and carry the brand appeal. In the beginning, we used Siri’s voice as the base, but it soon occurred to us that it was not appropriate for a teenage girl’s voice. We then scoured through hundreds of audio clips of teenage girls to identify the most suitable one and then edited Siri with the right pitch and timbre to obtain the perfect voice for TechTommie.

Language Associations

  • Finally, we made an exhaustive list of tech-questions that senior citizens commonly ask and crafted answers with content that builds association with the teenage mascot. We achieved this by adopting millennial lingo, commonly used words by teens and common voice gestures used by them to emote and communicate. In fact, the name ‘Tommie’ was chosen because of its strong association with children’s names. 

Technologies and Capabilities Deployed

We adopted lean-agile methodologies and developed a clickable UI-UX prototype as the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for the platform that was delivered within just 6 months. The entire development process was collaborative and user-driven with weekly meetings and progress briefings. The main technologies deployed were IOS, SDK and Swift. 5 Team members from Digicorp were dedicated for the product development including 1 Project Manager, 1 iOS developer, 1 Product Designer, 1 Tech-Leader and 1 Principal Designer.

Concluding Note

Even though the client was unable to continue with commercialization of the product, TechTommie continues to be one of our most exciting projects where we added immense value beyond mere coding. Our ability to combine product development with brand building and market understanding make us the ideal partner for startups and entrepreneurs looking to accelerate their innovation.

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