In this class, we have the opportunity to solve a problem experienced by an older person we are paired with by using what we have learned so far. We (Leah, Abel, and  Varsha) were paired with a retired English teacher named Jane. On March 25th at 10:00am we interviewed Jane to get an opportunity to learn more about her and find out how we can help her with any problems she has. We conducted this interview over a group phone call.

Interview Agenda:

We prepared a list of questions for Jane before we started the interview. The below questions are what we had prepared:


  1. Group member introduction
  2. How are you doing?
  3. Ask/inform her that we are recording the meeting
  4. Would you be willing to move your camera around to show us parts of your house?
  5. Remember to conclude and thank the interviewee for her time


Interview Questions

-> Remember to clearly state the goal of this project

  1. What does a typical day look like for you?
  2. Are there any problems that you run into everyday or is there an immediate thing that comes to your mind when we ask you if you are facing any solvable problems in your daily life?
  3. Are there any chores that you do on a daily basis that are just generally irritating or boring to do?
  4. What hobbies and interests do you have?
  5. Could you please demonstrate any daily task of your choice?

We had designed some of these questions for a video call, but in the end we did not ask the questions that pertained to that format of interview.

Interview Summary and Main Takeaways:

The interview went well given that we were not able to use Zoom for a video call. She entered the interview with some ideas, but unfortunately her ideas either didn’t fit the project requirements or were outside the scope of our skills. Through the interview, we learned a few things about Jane and were able to come up with some ideas that may be useful for her. She has a dog, and her daughter lives nearby. She enjoys gardening, reading, and feeding the birds. Since our interview occurred without video, we have no photo documentation to attach to this post. Below are the ideas we came up with based off of the interview.

  • She has a pitbull mix and is afraid of it running away when she leaves it in the yard. Additionally, sometimes her daughter walks the dog and forgets to tell her. This gave us the idea to build a tracking leash that would help Jane keep track of it when her daughter walks the dog and ensure her dog doesn’t run away.
  • Jane is very interested in gardening, but she has issues with pests consuming her plants. We thought about building a system that would detect when pests enter her garden and scare them off by flashing a bright light or playing a loud sound. We later determined this to be nonviable because of the difficulty of detecting pests.
  • Jane also has a bird feeder, but she has an issue with other animals stealing food from it. She wants to feed the birds, but is worried about the bird seed attracting pests. We thought about building a device that would detect the weight of the animal and only dispense food if it thinks the animal is a bird.

Your thoughts after holding the meeting and discussing as a team:

I think the meeting went well, and we were able to learn a few important things about Jane. We had an issue at the beginning because we had not told Jane how we would communicate with her. We were unable to reach her by email, so we called her. One member of our group lost connection in the middle of the group phone call, which suggests that this is not an ideal platform for future communication. To deal with this problem we talked with Jane and helped her download Zoom. For future meetings, we should be able to use that platform to see parts of her house and better communicate with her.