— Positive Aging —

Overview: Bay Alarm Medical wants to make a greater life-saving impact by adding a digital component to extend and enhance their existing product. The company offers four different types of devices and subscribers can press the help button on the device and get immediately connected to a call operator during an emergency.

Duration: Two weeks

Team: Three fellow student members along with myself at General Assembly.

My Role: As a team, we were responsible for user research (creating user tests, documentation of personas, face to face interviews). 

I also designed later high-fidelity wireframes, prototypes, interaction design and visual designs.

Challanges: Our challenge was to come up with a brand new digital platform for Bay Alarm Medical who currently does not have a digital solution as a part of their service. 

We started by coming up with a problem statement: a digital solution to help their current subscribers send alerts and other useful information to family members of those subscribers and any needed emergency services (paramedics, fire departments, police departments, hospitals, doctors, etc.). Bay Alarm Medical wants from subscriber to reduce their reluctance to use the service.


Business Goals:  Bay Alarm Medical wants to provide a digital solution. People sometimes forget to wear medical devices. Also, some people have immobile (in-home cellular) devices, and when they are far away from the device, they are unable to communicate with the medical device.

  • A digital platform provides an alternative solution to connect to the call center during an emergency
  • Emergency contacts are better informed of emergencies and they have a platform to communicate with each other
  • Bay Alarm Medical wants to make subscribers value and trust their service more, so users would feel less reluctant to use their service

Bay Alarm Medical's singular mission has been to protect the most important things in life – family, health, and independence.

First Challenge; analyzing the current flow

We can not just jump to the personas or design an app, first things first. We need to understand the current flow, that's why I introduced you to the business first. Bay Alarm Medical’s website has very good information about their products with “How-It-Works” videos, customer testimonials and customer survey data - they even have a blog.  Let me show you the current process. 

Next step was understanding personas. During the research, we found that elderly population was not the only target customers (interesting point). Medical devices are also for people who have medical conditions.

Another challenging aspect we had to consider was that we did not want the user of Bay Medical Alert to replace the device with our solution, but our goal was to help them extend the utility

Give subscribers other alternative solutions to call help and for their caretakers get more updates from the digital platform. It was very important for us to understand where our digital solution could fit in the current process.


We continued our business analysis with comparative analysis. In many cases, we found that the information in the website was mostly marketing or advertising oriented. It wasn't related to the products itself, and It did not represent the real users or experience. Because of that, we couldn't compare the product directly with other companies. 

  • But, we compared pricing, activation fee, product usage, response time, billing and customer service. So, we decided that it would not give us any important information to create a digital solution. 

We also decided to move on with organizing the information using affinity mapping and letting out our ideas to define our problem statement and users pain points. It helped us for preparation user research and user surveys.

Another difficulty was that we couldn't find elderly (65+ year-old) people to interview and survey. It was very hard for us in the beginning to find those who actually used the device. After searching, networking and asking people, we were able to interview people who have a lot of relevant experiences. 



“Feeling vulnerable is uncomfortable.” - Ruth Rhymaun, 52 years old, caretaker also user

I don’t think I am old enough to use the device yet.” - Margaret Lee, 94 years old, user 

"If they are independent then they don't want to ask for help." - Andrew Butter, caretaker
“I wouldn’t wear a medical device, if I was old!” Cathy, caretaker

Who are personas?

We interviewed elderly people, their caretakers, elderly volunteer organization’s social service workers and people who had been in an accident and injured. All of these stories helped us to understand personas, the psychology behind asking for “help” and when and in what circumstances they would be less reluctant to ask for help.  

After our interviews, surveys, competitive analyses, and secondary research, with the personas that we had created based on user research we created the user flow. We used affinity mapping method to lay our qualitative data we gathered through research, to see gather our key insights.

  • We come up with three different groups of persona. They acted as guides on how to design, what not to design. 


MoSCoW Method

After that, our main action was “Prioritization” of features which helped us to narrow down our scope and focus.

We created a list of “Must Have”, “Should Have” and “Could Have” features and decided to only work on must and should have features given the time and scope constraints of this project.

Working with my team. 

Based on the prioritization, we started to create user flows and sketched our first version of the prototype. During the design process, we designed from Fatima's perspective. We designed a paper prototype then began testing with users. It was hard for us to find users who were close to our personas. 

User Flow:

Current Process, the image is designed by me.

 Brainstorming with my team.

Brainstorming with my team.

User testing gave us feedback and opportunity to understand the most important features. 


After several user testings, we decided to turn the low fidelity paper prototype into high fidelity wireframes and then interactive prototype.


We decided to use native mobile application as a digital platform. First reason a mobile app can use API and people can make a call inside the app. Second reason is the app uses GPS location. It also responds faster, because the users will use the app for emergency.

We came up with three different groups of persona. They acted as guides on how to design, not what to design. Based on user research, we realized we needed to design this experience with two different platforms: one for dependent living people (elderly people or those with medical conditions) and the other for emergency contacts. After, user journeys and user flows featuring all three personas were connected in the experience. 



Play with interactive Prototype


     Subscribers Interface

Emergency Contact Interface


We designed an app which has two different interfaces, for subscribers and emergency contacts.

  • For subscribers, we've provided them with an alternative way to call for help when they need it, or where ever they are so they will feel safe and more independent (left prototype)
  • For emergency responder, the app is able to quickly inform them about patient health situations during emergencies (right prototype)


  • Users don't want to “ask for help“, but after they trust a person or the service, they are comfortable and willing to use the service
  • They value their independence
  • They don't want to accept being old. It’s also wrong to think that elderly people won’t embrace the technology

Were we successful? Yes ! 

We designed an app which has two different interfaces, for patients and emergency contacts. The app is able to quickly inform emergency contacts about patient's health situation during the emergencies. For patients, we provide them with an alternative way to call for help when they need, so wherever they are they will feel safe and independent.


How could I measure success? How could I know whether we were successful? The answer was more user testing and interviews. I went to Atria Hillsdale which was an assisted living facility. I met with Teresa, a manager at Atria Hillsdale, and explained her the project. I did a round of user testing and observed her reactions. She understood the user flow and without hesitation, she completed the user task.

Future Vision

  • We'd like to make medical devices more aesthetically pleasing, because users like looking good, and feeling prettier. But for this project, we were only asked to provide a digital platform. Seniors will become healthier, safer, and even cooler than their grandkids!
  • During an emergency, we'd like to send a notification to emergency contacts, so that they can react faster. 
  • Live Monitoring, when the emergency contact gets the notification. We can stream real-time video to their smartphone and they can see what’s happening during the emergency and talk with the patient.


  • The Apple Watch is able to track and follow patient's heart rate and other vital health data. It also can support automatic fall detection and location tracking.
  • We also want to use the iPhone's lock screen to display the medical card for emergency responders such as paramedic, police or firefighters.  The whole idea of Medical ID is to make the information quick and easy to find for those helping you in an emergency.

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