Author: Julián Mª Morejón Carmona
Date: June 2021
Durcal allows you to provide information on the location, physical activity of the person, information on your phone, as well as receive alerts or send photos and videos simply, in addition, developers usually update the app to add new very interesting functions.
Durcal has been developed by a startup specialized in apps to help people like Alpify, aimed at helping mountaineers, so they have a track record in developing functions dedicated to caring for or improving people's quality of life, comment that the app was previously called Safe365, but in the last updates it changed its name and some of its functions, which it is currently recovering. The developer has also commented that although it is free right now, he plans to monetize it in the future when the app has a large user base.
In this review we will do an analysis of the app in its version 7.3.1, both for Android devices and with IOs, focused on Android mobile devices with version 9 and for IOs version 13.4.1.
Next, we will analyze the app and its different aspects in depth.
Once the app is installed, we proceed to start the app, when we open it a brief introduction appears, to finally request that we enter a phone number, where they will send us a code that we will have to enter in order to start using the app. In most cases it will automatically detect the code and you will not need to enter it.
With the app started, we can choose different views, if we are elderly or caregivers, it depends on the selected option we will have different options available:
- Normal view: it will appear in the main interface to add a major, if we select the option, our contacts that we have on the device will be opened to us so that we can select our elders and begin to control or obtain information about them, the rest of the options or elements of the interface will appear at the bottom grouped in a vertical bar.
- Adapted View: it will show us a reduced interface in which we can request photos or videos from our relatives that we have as contacts.
Once we have added some major we can start using the options that we have:
- Map: shows us the location of the elderly people that we have added on the map and our location.
- Family: allows us to see information on the status of the telephone device of our elders, as well as send them photos, videos, see our relatives, etc ...
- Activity: shows us information about the physical activity carried out by the elderly that we have added, such as, for example, steps they have taken during the day, if they have met the daily exercise goals, etc ... As well as our activity or the published photos.
- Services: shows us a catalog of residences for the elderly near our location and their contact information.
As can be seen, some interesting options are shown, accompanied by an adequate operation in most cases, making its usefulness acceptable although it can be improved. Highlight how more interesting options, location, activity and sending photos and videos. Being the section of sending photos and videos one of the most remarkable options within the app, helping to maintain contact and offer closeness to our family members.
If we select the adapted view designed for the elderly, an interface will open in which we do not have any option except to be able to request a photo or video from our family members.
Perhaps the adapted view is somewhat scarce in terms of functionality, but it must be taken into account that its objective is to give access to the app to different profiles of users of the elderly group, being able to make use of the normal view, in the case wanting to access all the functionality without problem.
However, in both roles we can access the same settings, located in the upper left corner, although the icon is a bit small, which may cause some people to not correctly identify it, especially users who are elderly, the options that we will meet will be:
- Personal information: where we will be allowed to edit the details about ourselves to our liking.
- Family: that will show the members that we have added.
- Places: very interesting option, since it allows us to add addresses of our house, neighborhood, residence and work, being very useful in case an elderly person gets lost, for example, since they could easily locate their place of residence, thanks to this information , in addition to allowing you to add custom places.
- Change view: an interesting option that allows us to simply change the way we see the app between normal view or adapted view, designed for older people.
After looking at the available options, we can say that these are interesting, being even more interesting than some of the options available in the main interface.
On the one hand, the application has an acceptable functionality, but without fully meeting the objectives it offers to cover, becoming insufficient, in some cases, with common problems in both the IOs and Android versions.
If we want to be able to take care of and approach our elders in an efficient and carefree way, the application does not fully comply, due to the failures that usually occur, sometimes, especially in older or low-power devices, at the time to show some information, especially the location.
Although most of the functions work correctly, in terms of location, if we have a device that is not very powerful, it cannot work when it is in the background, since it is not updated correctly, giving various problems, although even on a more powerful computer, to Sometimes the location takes a more or less extensive time to update, being a very necessary problem to be solved in the future.
As we have commented previously, the application is designed for the elderly and their families, the accessibility for the group of elderly people being acceptable, due to its simplicity, since it eliminates all the functionalities and we only have one main interface to request videos and photos, Access to settings can also be improved.
On the other hand, both the adapted view and the normal view do not have any specific accessibility adjustment, nor differences in contrasts or font size to give greater accessibility to the user, missing an adjustment of this type to greatly improve the accessibility section , instead of just trimming the app's functionalities in the adapted view.
For other groups of people, the app can be used with the necessary adaptations if the user requires it, for people with vision difficulties, screen readers such as Talkback or VoiceOver can be used, since the app has the necessary labeling for screen readers, in the case of people with physical difficulties, if the case requires it, they can use screen buttons, so that both cases can use the app without complications.
After testing the app in depth, we can confirm that the application can be, in some cases, an interesting option for the approach or care of our elderly, since it has some interesting characteristics, although with these you would not have complete control over the state of our elders, its functionality being a complement to their care.
We also commented that being available both for Android, as for IOs, it encompasses the entire user community and that would be an important point in favor of the app, although usability should be improved to increase the impact of using the app on the day to day of family members who want to take care of their elders.
Residence information: You can add places of residence or personalized, being interesting for cases, such as the loss or disorientation of our elders, since whoever finds them could consult the information to help them locate them.
Activity: We can see the physical activity of our elders, as the number of steps or if they have met the daily exercise goals, being interesting, to know if they remain active or not, to ensure that they do not lead a sedentary life, since it would be of little benefit for them.
Geolocation: The application sometimes fails when we try to locate the location of the elderly, especially in less powerful devices, both in IOs and Android, therefore, correcting this option would give the application a much needed boost.
Accessibility options for adapted view: If we choose the role of adapted view, we hardly have an accessibility option, in the case of an adapted view it would be interesting to have options that provide greater access to people who may have certain cognitive or visual problems, for example, this would make the app much more complete and better fulfill its objectives.