How and why we made Komp

With the evolution of modern technology over the years, the way in which we communicate with those around us has changed drastically. Digital communication tools such as video messaging and social media platforms have swiftly become the preferred method of contact for many people as it offers limitless opportunities to keep in touch with our friends and relatives with such ease. The level of interconnectivity it provides as well as the ability to satisfy the natural human need for contact means that there has been an increase in demand for digital communication tools across all age groups.

Whilst this offers a solution for most, it is important that we recognise that not all methods of modern digital communication will be suitable for everyone, with the needs and abilities of the elder generation often forgotten.

Why did we make Komp?

Finding solutions that reduce involuntary loneliness and social isolation is our core mission at No Isolation and identifying those groups who are most affected is our first and most crucial task. After the successful launch of AV1 in 2016, our telepresence learning avatar for long-term ill children, we were challenged by the Norwegian Cancer Society to create a similar product for a different, yet equally vulnerable, target group; analogue seniors. Using the research presented by our team on loneliness amongst the elderly, we quickly realised that this was an issue more complex than we had imagined. It highlighted to us the three key factors that increased the risk of loneliness amongst seniors; age, health complications and civil status.

Fuelled by a passion to find a solution to this problem as well as being inspired by a project conducted by Ålesund Council where seniors living in a care facility were helped by their nurses to have video calls, we decided that we wanted to create a product that would make communication easier, more meaningful and ‘user friendly’ for seniors to enjoy close contact with others.

As a result, we fine-tuned our goal to reducing loneliness amongst seniors, with a focus on building close relations.

How did we make Komp?

When approaching the design concept, we knew that it was imperative to have our users at the forefront of the development process. That is why we are proud to say that Komp has been developed with and for the elderly. Using the research gathered by our team, we were able to outline our creation and development process based on three main ideas. First, to facilitate the sharing of knowledge from seniors to younger generations. Secondly, to simplify interfaces that provide access to internet services. And lastly, to allow families to share multimedia content.

A team of 18 of us took part in a 3-day workshop where we worked on designing possible solutions to reducing loneliness amongst seniors with some ideas even being refined into testable prototypes. We weren’t too sure on what kind of product we were going to end up with but Komp did go through many stages of development and trials and errors before we landed on the product we have available today. During this process, however, we made sure that seniors played a key role in the development, testing and evaluation of the prototype as it was ultimately their feedback that allowed us to create the best product for easing communication methods between relatives. For an in-depth look into our design and creation process, please read our booklet on ‘How And Why We Made Komp’.

Finally, after many months of trials and tests, we arrived at Komp.

An elderly woman looks at a photo of her granddaughter, displayed on Komps screen.

The Final Product: Komp today

Komp is our standalone, one-button screen designed for seniors who are unfamiliar with modern technology. Using the Komp app, family members can communicate with their relatives through video calls, messages and photos in a safe and secure way. Not only does Komp offer a meaningful method of communication between relatives, but it also gives seniors a sense of technological mastery as the simple user interface uses features of modern tech without the complexity. Seniors do not have to worry about remembering passwords, using touch screens or updating software; the Komp is operated simply by one button.

Komp is our solution to closing the technological gap that exists between generations, allowing seniors to enjoy the benefits of a digital and interconnected world.