There are currently 39 million people aged 55 and older using Facebook, Twitter, and Skype, making them the fastest growing age demographic on these sites. Unfortunately, none of the current social networking sites cater to specific needs of senior citizens. The major requirement was to develop a social platform for senior citizens where they can share, collaborate, learn and avail variety of one stop services with a focus on holistic living.
Sentizens.com is an eminent social networking platform for enabling communication between seniors. Our target audience was not today's super-techie youngsters, so instead we needed to build an easy to use product to fulfill the needs of those who have been hiding from world wide web, thinking about complexities of operating laptops and computers over web. The idea was to get most of things useful for seniors citizens to one common ground and present them in such an easy way that they feel comfortable using it. For the very purpose we needed a complete flexible design not only to support various gadgets but we also needed to learn from users experience and still be able to quickly make those changes so it can be reiterated. We also needed a highly simple as well as highly pluggable interface, a painstaking design, and well-tuned performance, that too within strict timelines.
Some of the user needs to be addressed through this platform:
• Social: Sharing memories, posts, photos & thoughts. Engage in Groups; connect with family members in India and abroad.
• Health: Articles & Classes on yoga & fitness. Contacts of doctors, specialists & emergency services
• Hobbies: Articles, Classes and Groups of user interest
• Travel: Articles & Services on Travel destinations. Reminders for travel dates & document information
• Finance: Articles & Services on financial services. Reminders for payments & documents
• Spiritual: Articles, Groups & Camps info on wellness program
Engagement Overview: Development
•Time to Market was of the essence. In order to speed things up we used Drupal Commons 3 for prebuilt applications and adopted Drupal modules like Panels Ajax tabs to show today’s and upcoming events
•Performance of the site was a prerequisite due to the anticipated huge traffic flow on the site. We used Drupal modules Memcache & XHPr and increased RAM to handle more requests. The Faichi team developed new Drupal modules for customized features like Advance clock to show clocks of different time zones & Multiple Skype plugin to display contacts and their user status
•Team Size: Faichi deployed a dedicated team of 6 resources including designer, developers, QA & Project manager
•We used Agile/Scrum Methodology for faster development, better collaboration and quick delivery
Engagement Overview: QA
•Entire site development from conceptualization to deployment
•System Testing including customer facing defects
•Bug logging in Zilicus (project management tool)
•Bug verification of resolved defects
•Regression testing around the resolved threads
•Mobile testing, Load & Performance testing, Responsive Testing on various platforms & Browsers including IE9, 10, Chrome, FF on Windows7 & Mac Safari.
•Test cases creation, Test cases Execution, Issues Logs in Zilicus
•Load & Performance Testing: Using SOASTA (Load & Performance testing tool).
Project Management approach:
Our idea was to deliver more value and reduce waste; we applied lean project management techniques in combination with Agile software development methodology. The whole product was split into multiple modules / features to make it a multi-release project / product. At the end of every module / feature, a working demo of the product was scheduled with stakeholders including the client to ensure that there are no gaps in the requirements and the product being developed. This helped to avoid last minute surprises which could have caused major rework at later stage.
After an accelerated journey of requirement gathering, development & testing, one highly interactive yet user friendly social networking platform for senior citizens came to life.
It offers the essential features of popular social websites including posting, sharing, liking and joining groups. Besides this, Sentizens offers several innovative features which are designed and developed exclusively for senior people like:
• Login using existing accounts like Facebook
• Option of increasing Font size for the better readability.
• Clean uncluttered UI with space to enable larger font
• Event reminders as default setting at one hour before the event, if they forget to set reminders
• Skype integration to connect directly with their loved ones from the application itself.
• Clocks of different time zones worldwide
• My Wallet: To store important/emergency contacts as well as reminders for crucial document information like passport & bill payments
• Specially curated articles on health, finance, travel, hobbies and spirituality
• Services available in proximity to their society & their addresses & contacts stored in ‘My essentials’ list e.g. plumber, dairy, shopping malls, movie theaters, restaurants & much more