An app to solve growing senior home care needs for millions of Canadian families

I had the privilege to conduct primary field research and design a healthcare iOS application as part of the Applied Research and Innovation Lab at George Brown College for their industry partner, uCarenet, a Canadian startup.

Role: UX Researcher, Interaction Designer
Team: Emi Sato, Laura McMullan, Hamed Rahimzadeh
Duration: 5 months (2017)


Millions of Canadians provide care to a senior family member or friend, spending on average nineteen hours a month, and the demand is growing quickly. They are struggling to find solutions that balance their own needs with those of their family members, who want independence and quality of life.


Current Caremep website functions as a market place to connect home care providers and families however we were not getting enough traffic for the portal to function properly. A solution we came up with was a customizable mobile app with many features that lucks on the current web based tool.

Helping seniors age well in the comfort of their own home, by alleviating the stress of taking care of their needs with the help of a consolidated home care management application. Our digital solution provides an efficient and streamlined method for seniors, their families, and home care providers to collaborate with each other seamlessly. Developed UX solutions to facilitate and promote collusion between multi-user types. Developed UI solutions to ease automation of workflows to match home care seekers/ providers, home care management and oversight, medical reports, data analytics, and more. The iOS App is currently in beta phase and downloadable on the app store.


Understanding Users

  • Digest / Reconstruct Project Brief
  • Conduct Market and Secondary User Research

Identifying opportunities

  • Interview Target Users
  • Discover Pain Points and User Needs
  • Identify Problem Space

Brainstorming solutions

  • Generate Ideas
  • Wireframe and User Flow
  • Low Fidelity Prototype
  • Test and Evaluate

Designing delivery

  • Refresh Brand Visuals and Design System
  • High Fidelity Prototype
  • Behaviour Design and Motion Graphics

Observation // Secondary research // Online survey // User interviews // Personas // Journey mapping
9 out of 10 individuals who received homecare relied on their family
5.4 million Canadians provided care to a senior family member or friend
More than three million Ontarians are family caregivers
850,000 individuals provide more than 10 hours of care per week

“Canadian families are increasingly hiring paid companion keepers and care providers to support relatives living at home.”

— Alex Mihailidis, University of Toronto and Scientific Director of AGE-WELL
A 2012 Statistic Canada study found that 5.4 million Canadians provided care to a senior family member or friend, and nine out of 10 who received care in the home relied on family. More than three million Ontarians are family caregivers, and 48% are caring for a parent or in-law. Some 850,000 provide more than 10 hours of care per week, including transportation, domestic tasks, scheduling, managing finances and providing personal care.

Target Audience

Through our primary research, we identified three main user groups for this tool. First group is family members of seniors who are in need of hiring home care providers, the second group is health care providers who are looking for reliable families to work for, and lastly seniors. For MVP and version 1.0 we focused on the first two users: family with seniors and home care providers. Senior features are included for version 2.0 roadmap.

User Research

Interviews and Observations
We collaborated with domain experts in George Brown College to understand core users, user environment, motivations, major tasks to accomplish and primary pain points.  We interviews few participants and gathered data on their current workflow and major challenges. This data helped us in identifying opportunity to solve the problems.
Participants Group 1
  • Family with seniors living in Toronto
  • Family living outside of the town (Ottawa) and overseas but their seniors in Toronto
Interview Scripts
  • What is the contexts?
  • How often does your senior need help?
  • What do they need help with?
  • How often do you hire home care provider?
  • What is the best scenario? and worse?
  • What tools do you currently use?
  • What are the major problem faced?
  • Do you take care your senior yourself or with someone else?
Participants Group 2
  • RN (Registered Nurse) Practitioner
  • Nursing Student at George Brown
Interview Scripts
  • The contexts?
  • How do you find patients/clients?
  • What tools do you currently use?
  • What does your typical workflow look like? What are your major tasks?
  • How many clients/visit do you usually have a day?
  • Do you overwork?
  • Have you had any issue with your patient or their family members? If so, can you tell us more?
  • How much preparation does your shift require? and what do you need to do after leaving patient’s home?
  • What are the major problems faced?


Observations were conducted to get and understand nurses current workflow and study tools / technology they use. Due to privacy regulations in healthcare in Canada, we were not able to follow their workflow. We ended up observing how they fill up the reports, main communication methods they use to contact their patients/clients and tools / methods they use in their current workflow.

Problem Space

Issues Found
  • Tedious manual reporting system
  • Friction in sharing patients information
  • Time consuming admin work outside of paid hours
  • Frustrations in knowing seniors emotional and physical wellbeing
  • Difficulties in building trust between family members and care providers

Design Goal

Reframing the Problem
How might we help build trust and transparency between home care providers and family members by offering a tool that reduces tedious tasks and encourage collaboration?


After gathering data and having goals in mind, we created the persona profiles to further visualize our target audience and their needs/ motivations. These persona profiles were mainly used when we brainstorm ideas, discuss functions and it reminded us who we are designing solutions for and who are are talking to.
[ Persona Group 1 ] Family Member
Mary Sheffield
58 years old
Realtor $80,000/yr
Toronto, Canada
Technical profile:
Computer used at the office, but more reliant on mobile device.

Internet use:
Uses internet 5-6 hours per day at work, tries to unplug in the evenings.

Marital Status:
Married for 30 years; 2 children both in their twenties.

Pain Points
  • Gets nervous that her mother is not safe at home alone; and wishes she could be apart of her care giving process even when she can’t stop by and check in on her.
  • Wants her mother to feel comfortable with the care provider present in her home and wants a smooth transition to occur between care providers when they do change.
  • Gets frustrated when there are different care providers and she doesn’t get consistent reports or feedback on her mother’s wellbeing; wants there to be more sharing of information between herself and the care provider.
  • Wishes there was a more efficient way to choose a caregiver for her mother.
  • Would like to know more than the necessary qualifications of a care provider; how would past care seekers rate them, and their job performance?
Goals and Motivations
  • Wants to be able to “do it all” but knows she needs to accept help when its given.
  • Would like to provide the best care for her mother who is needing help around the house, and be involved as much as she can.
[ Persona Group 2 ] Home Care Provider
Marissa Johnson
32 years old
Home care worker
$40,000/yr (paid hourly)
Toronto, Canada
Technical profile:
Uses a desktop computer at work, and a tablet and mobile device on the go and at home.

Internet use:
Uses the internet 3-4 hours a day for work and catching up with friends and family in the evening through social media.

Marital Status:
Married; 2 children under the age of ten.

Pain Points
  • Gets frustrated with the out of date medical computer software her agency is currently using; lacks efficiency and understanding.
  • Dislikes having to print out her assessment sheets and fill it in manually; she finds it time consuming, and takes away time needed to build rapport with her clients.
  • Would like to have a scheduling system that she could take with her on the go as she completes her home care shifts.
  • Wishes there was a more efficient way to take daily reports at the clients homes, she currently does it manually, and then must input it on a computer at the office afterwards.
Goals and Motivations
  • Wishes to provide the best care she can and works daily to be patient and understanding of each clients needs.
  • Would like to go back to school to become a RN to increase her hourly income as a care provider and have increased autonomy of the care she can currently provide.
[ Persona Group 3 ] Senior
Dolores Cohen
84 years old
Retired school teacher
Pension plan
Etobicoke, Canada

Technical profile:
Minimal technical usage; desktop for emails and video calls and smart phone used just for phone calls.

Internet use:
Uses the internet 1-2 hours a day for talking to her family on Skype and surfing CNN.

Marital Status:
Widow; with four children and ten grandchildren.

Pain Points
  • Her recent hip replacement surgery has reduced her independence and has caused some frustration in not being able to complete tasks she used to such as; dressing and undressing in the morning and evening, cooking, cleaning, and bathing.
  • She enjoys having the company of a care giver but doesn’t like when there is a quick turnover and she needs to re-explain how she likes to have things done.
  • She often doesn’t like to tell her children how she’s feeling about her surgery because she doesn’t want to burden them.
  • Has difficulty with the touchscreen of her phone; sometimes it just doesn’t work for her.
  • Doesn’t have support to help her use her smart phone, would prefer to have someone sit down and explain it with her.
  • Finds the typeface and buttons small on her iPhone, and makes it difficult to interact with.
Goals and Motivations
  • Wants to get better in order to be able to gain some independence and resume her social life and activities.
  • Would like to have more activities and interests when she lacks mobility; and make better use of her smart phone and tablet to aid in this task.

Journey Mapping

Identifying Use Case
[ Flow: Family ]
[ Flow: Care Provider ]

Information Architecture

Care Provider - Sign Up

Visual Style

uCarenet has its own branding, however, as uCarenet aims to grow and penetrate the digital market, it was advantageous to consider a new branding identity to remain versatile in a constantly evolving space. The new direction ensures the use of design elements best fit for a digital experience, including responsive and legible typography, and a warm cheerful color scheme to support users’ experience in aiding a loved one in a less capable circumstance.
Under uCarenet’s original branding identity, there are limitations to the presentation and user experience when applied to a digital space. The font on a smaller medium such as smartphones becomes less distinguishable, and the color scheme less perceptible.

It was beneficial for both uCarenet and their clients’ to consider a brand solution that aims to present the brand in a versatile, lively and simple manner.


We handcrafted new 85+ iconography in three categories.
Mobility / Hydration
Care provider profile
Task List
FInal Design

Reliable and Affordable Home Care.

Caremap is an innovative, connected community that bridges the gap between healthcare providers and in-home care seekers to provide families stronger access to affordable home care services.

Care Categorization.

We discovered that each individual’s home care situation varies widely, depending on the needs of the seniors and their families. Tasks such as nursing, domestic help, personal care and attention towards the seniors can be performed by a wide array of care providers. Even without an official certification, students can service seniors with their home chores and provide them company as a paid or unpaid volunteer.

Best Matching System.

Care providers and care seekers are matched through profiles that specify customized needs and interests with a series of tools to facilitate and optimize the processes and relationships of those involved.
Caremap empowers care providers, helping them connect with the right clients, differentiate their offering, create personalized schedules and rates, and keep 100% of their hourly wage. It also allows care seekers to view real-time updates of tasks being completed and provides them the peace of mind of knowing their family is being taken care of.

An easy and Trustful Booking System

When it comes to home care, communication is paramount. Often families can live quite far away from the seniors in need. Maximizing the trust between care providers and care seekers was a real challenge. With the help of technology, we offered a reliable clocking system which also rewarded homecare providers for being punctual.

Smart and Reliable System.

When it comes to home care, communication is paramount. Often families can live quite far away from the seniors in need. Maximizing the trust between care providers and care seekers was a real challenge. With the help of technology, we offered a reliable clocking system which also rewarded homecare providers for being punctual.

Clock in
Care provider can only view the exact location when their shift starts to ensure seniors privacy. They can also clock in when they arrive the location preventing clocking in at a different location other apart from senior’s home address by mistake.

Real-time updates

The time progress bar shows how many hours remain before finishing the shift with scheduled tasks that care providers were asked to complete. By clicking icons, care providers can view task information.
By interviewing home care providers and nursing practitioners, we discovered many cases where they had to fill reports outside of their paid-hours manually. This is a time-consuming process and a fundamental pain point for caregivers. Through the App, caregivers can now provide live updates on their client’s condition, ranging from physical wellbeing to daily activities. An intuitive reporting system allows care providers to make timely reports without worrying about manually filling papers, scanning and sending digital copies to care seekers.

Clock out
Care providers can only clock out when they complete the reporting. This ensures that they get paid while completing the report and prevent forgetting filling up by mistake.

Head to Toe Report.

RN and RPS certified care providers can now update details on a senior’s health condition enabling families to check on their loved one’s health condition in a timely manner.

Peace of Mind in a Nurturing Environment.

A hybrid between modern technology and human connection, care seekers and care providers can now share important information via our easy-to-use app, Caremap. The result is valuable, long-term relationships between everyone involved, and peace of mind in a nurturing environment.


The Wellness Meter on uCarenet’s Caremap app enables families to check in on their loved ones. Families can track the senior’s health conditions in real-time updates but are also able to access a general overview based on past care visits. This allows the families to keep track of changes over time and note important changes in the senior’s health conditions.

Billing and Payment.

Caremap enables care providers to easily produce invoices based on their bookings. Any expenses incurred during the shift will automatically appear here, making sure care providers can bill, and be reimbursed, exact expenses during their shift.
Analytics of Billing and Expenses
We discovered that care providers are self-employed and at the same time they would have to act as a small business managing their income and taxing. Caremap provides analytics of their billing and expenses, allowing them to track what has been paid and not.
Taking Care of
Multiple Seniors

We discovered that care We have discovered that many families take care of not only one senior, but multiple at the same time. Managing care for more than one senior is made easier with Caremap, through its swipe through a feature of profiles and different color coding.

Share the care.

Multiple care seekers may be caring for one or more seniors, as is often the case with siblings caring for their parents. Users can invite their family members through the app and easily split invoices amongst themselves. This allows families to equally split responsibilities, as well as have a place to track their finances.


Overall Impact
I’ve thrown a lot at you, here’s a short and sweet summary of what we’ve set out to accomplish.
We wanted to make in-house health care more accessible and affordable offering transparency and trust-based community.

In engaging ourselves with an in-depth and well fleshed out process, we created a seamless, real-time update and consumption experience while providing a personalized profile and data visualization. Not only were we able to touch upon some basic user research, but we were also able to take the project to an early prototyping stage, giving us a chance to not only work in a group setting, but also across a large span of the design process.  From being spoiled by being paired with a phenomenal partner, to talking to potential users, to working with awesome team members for a real client, Caremap was a successful project in more ways than just a completed mobile experience.
Some of the things we discovered and came up with the solutions.


Senior’s needs can vary from home nursing, massage therapy, to home chores and sometimes simply having companions and someone to talk to can be a service.
By categorizing the care providers skill level, the user is able to select care based on the need of the senior. This also allows for appropriate rates to be given to care providers based on their skill level and types of home care services provided.


Some families have more than one senior to take care of.
We created a profile interface that could be easily switched to another senior through a quick swipe. As well, we created differentiation through color coding so the user is visually aware of what senior profile they are looking at.


In many cases, siblings look after their parents together.
The “share the care” feature allows users to share invoices for the care being provided to a senior(s). This feature allows users to share responsibilities in a transparent way.


Trust and privacy are a big thing. We want to make sure to hire the right care provider that matches your senior in need.
By categorizing the care providers skill level, the user is ablWe care about both the care provider / senior relationship. There must be a level of compatibility in order to have a successful relationship. The in-depth information on the seniors profile based on their interests and cultural background provides more successful matches.e to select care based on the need of the senior. This also allows for appropriate rates to be given to care providers based on their skill level and types of home care services provided.


Care providers are not only self-employed but function as a small business and must keep track of their finances/expenses.
The billing and payment feature of the app tracks expenses incurred and invoices posted. The care provider can track payments for each shift in and easily provide invoices through the app. A history of invoices is also stored, so they can track their finances.


After providing home-care, care providers have to write reports manually outside of their paid hours.
By providing live updates of tasks complete, and having the ability to write updates on the senior’s condition before the shift is over, we ensure that care providers get paid for the reporting they are doing and preventing human error in forgetting to report something once the shift is over. They can only clock out of the app once the shift report has been completed.

In future

The iOS app is currently a bata phase and downloadable at App Store (2018 summer). Some of the next steps we consider are to create a tablet version for the senior interface so that they can ask for help themselves empowering them and provide independency with transparency with their family members.

In the media:
Business InsidersZoomer Toronto Gurdian startUp HERE
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