In the era of digitalisation, modern communication technology from video conferencing to social media platforms have provided a level of interconnectivity that is unprecedented in its reach and speed. For most, reaching peers and loved ones around the world has never been easier.
However, technology hasn’t been built with every generation in mind. Older generations are largely forgotten when it comes to how we design ‘modern' technology. Smartphones and tablets, be it touchscreen technology or ‘user-friendly’ interfaces, have failed to incorporate their abilities.
We wanted to change this. And that’s why we built KOMP, a one-button computer for those unaccustomed to gadgetry.
Why did we make KOMP?
Following our success with AV1, the distance learning avatar for unwell children, we were approached by the Norwegian Cancer Society and were asked to create a similar device for lonely seniors. The Society found that loneliness was a particularly acute challenge for their older beneficiaries who were going through cancer, often miles and miles away from home, and unable to use modern communication tools to keep in touch.
We found our early inspiration for KOMP from a project by Ålesund Council, where seniors living in a care facility were helped by their nurses to have video calls over Skype on tablets. The results from this project were very promising, with both the family and seniors feeling better connected with each other.
If it were possible for all elderly adults to enjoy such close contact, including those who had no one to help them to connect to Skype, we were convinced it would help reduce loneliness amongst seniors. A combination of looking into existing research and projects, as well as workshops with the Norwegian Cancer Society helped us define our scope.
The aim was to reduce loneliness amongst seniors, with a focus on building close relations.
How did we make KOMP?
KOMP is developed with and for the elderly. Our creation and development process was 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.
We had no idea what we were going to end up with, nor did we have established methods to aid the creative process. KOMP went through numerous stages of development, with trials and errors, but we never lost focus of our main aim; easing loneliness amongst seniors. As such, we worked closely with seniors in developing, testing and evaluating our prototype. For an in-depth look into our design and creation process, please read our booklet on “How And Why We Made KOMP”
After months and months of tests, we arrived at KOMP.
Our first prototype
The Final Product; KOMP
KOMP is a standalone screen, resembling an old fashioned TV, that is operated by one rotary button. Family members can interact with KOMP through an app, and it is available with additional functionality for care providers. No training or digital experience is required for the user. The users enjoy instant benefits of video calling, and both text and picture messaging. KOMP does not require the senior to have an email address or social media account, nor does it require switching channels on television sets. KOMP has been, and will always be, focused on seniors and easing loneliness amongst them.
KOMP bridges technological divides between generations, allowing seniors to enjoy the gains of an interconnected world.