DIGITAL LEAP FOR SENIORS
A practical plan for development of digital apps for senior citizens during the global corona pandemic
DIGITAL LEAP FOR SENIORS IN THE EU
During the covid-19 pandemic there has been a long-awaited realization in Finland that digital services and improvement in skill level especially in the segment of senior citizens is something important to look at. Most likely this is true in other EU countries as well.
The following development plan has been formed looking at the situation from a Finnish point of view, but similar problems and sectors of development can surely be found in other countries and areas.
Should the development plan be implemented EU wide it should bring with it numerous beneficial developments and improvements.
The programs developed must be EU wide in scope
The use of certain digital services can be made free of border restrictions
When a person travels outside his/her home country there will be an option to concentrate on certain important digital servces, for example health care, traffic infrastructure, authorities and financial needs
The transfer of information during crisis situations can be made more effective and uniform
The acting principle in EU use:
To map and analyze the situation in other countries using the same model of action as in Finland (see development plan)
To use the same programs in development to form a realistic analysis of the situation
To find common problems and needs of services that go beyond the needs of just a single nation
To start the development process EU wide
The piloting can be done in Finland and then expanded outward
The entire nation has been affected by the corona-virus but instead of just looking at the negatives this should be seen as a time for finding important and necessary changes and possibilities.
The self-quarantine of senior citizens and most of others has expanded digital services as the main and sometimes the only contact method between humans. And as we all know the digital world has not been designed with senior citizens as the top priority.
So this should be seen as a fantastic time to change this entire way of thinking. Finland is one of the top countries in implementing digital services across society and this means that the potential for development already exists if needed.
Being a citizen in modern society demands the use of digital services from all age groups and this will only increase in the future. This means that concentrating on usability issues and different extra services should be seen as a important area of development.
The percentage of seniors that has acquired the necessary digital skillset either from studies or work is at the moment quite low. This being the case, the way of thinking concerning the working logic of digital apps can differ mightily from those of a younger generation that has been almost born with these apps.
It is also important to realize that scamming and phishing messages aimed especially towards seniors have increased in scope and amount.
The most important starting point in assuring the success of the development process and motivation is to guarantee enough support from society. This is important because the improvements in quality of life of seniors can have far reaching effects in the future and not only during the time of global pandemic.
The main objective of Digital leap for seniors is to develop digital services to senior citizens in special circumstances and also to continuous use in the future.
The central theme being that the development of digital services is mostly viewed from the viewpoint of the senior citizen and not only from the view of the developers and service providers.
The goals can be summarized as follows:
to increase the visibility of older people’s opinions and viewpoints in digital services
to target new and important apps and services for seniors
to find the most important needs and ways of learning inside the digitalized world
to increase interaction between seniors and the younger so called ”digi-natives”, while at the same time lessening the need for support persons
to create a discussion environment where the digital problems of senior citizens can be solved
to brainstorm ideas in developing the use of digital services during the global pandemic
to find deeper knowledge and learning about the beneficial use of digital apps in various fields
to analyze and influence the future development of the apps through a commenting process
to find ways to combat scammers who are targeting senior citizens
CONDITIONS FOR SUCCESS
An imperative condition for the success of the development project is the acquirement of a large enough group of motivated seniors to assist in the development process. This assures an accurate analysis of the current situation and wide enough scope of development proposals. In practice this will mean that the analysis of the current situation and the development proposals will be handled in a questionnaire app. To assure maximum reach the distribution of this app should be automated among the senior population of the country.
Society and other responsible factions will play a major role in motivating and allocating resources.
PRINCIPLES OF USE
When it comes to areas concerning senior citizens the right way to develop them is to ask about them, from senior citizens. With added knowledge from experts to develop different ideas, analyze them, produce them and fully realize them.
The knowledge gained from a questionnaire will be used to form a open source idea bank. This bank of ideas can be offered through operators. A mobile app will be used to implement the questionnaire and the results will be saved to the cloud-based idea bank.
The research is divided into multiple parts. A survey about user experience among seniors in using existent digital services. A part about the need for new services, development of learnability in digital services and a survey about the special needs brought along by the global pandemic. The research is mostly about seniors but it will also concern all interested parties and persons.
With enough results collected to the idea bank the next phase will start. In this phase the data will be analyzed for further use. This will be a three part process: comment based, artificial intelligence based and conclusions from experts.
Based on this, area of development will be selected. If a developer is found this will start the production process.
Monitoring of all areas of development is to be fully open. Especially the projects that are publicly funded.
The tracking app will produce statistical knowledge and immediate data about the different phases of the Digital leap for seniors project. Also included in the app will be a part about future developments.
The development process must be constantly maintained so that the digital leap will not be for just one time only
martti.laaperi at elisanet.fi
tuomo.laaperi at outlook.com