Shoulder Friend is an application used to meet people, make friendss or count the problems that one has anonymously so that others can give advice through messages called "Reliefs".
The application has three different menus:
- A lower one that contains the Start, Followed, and Chat
- A top one that contains the selection of Cattachments, Notifications, a search engine, and the drop-down menu.
- Home. This is the section that is displayed when the application starts and displays a list of messages that have been posted by users who want to start a conversation. By default, messages from all categories appear, but you can filter messages to appear in the categories you want.
- Followed. This section stores the"Reliefs"that are being followed, that is, the response thread to one of the messages that a user has published.
- Chats. This section will display a list of conversations that are being held with the different users of the application, as if it were any instant messaging app.
- Categories. In this section, as mentioned earlier, a total of 12 categories appear that help filter the messages that appear at startup. The most interesting categories for the elderly may be Friendship, Tips and Family.
- Notifications. This section will display notifications and notifications for new messages in the "Reliefs" being followed..
In order to analyze and be able to carry out an evaluation of the application, a series of tests have been carried out to verify its operation. Testing was performed on a Samsung Galaxy J7 device (Android 9 Pie) with version 1.11.0 and an iPhone 6S (IOS 13.4.1) with version 1.11.0
To be able to use the application on both devices it has been necessary to install it through the respective application stores of each operating system.
Once the application is installed, the home screen is displayed when you launch it and from that moment you can access all the contents of the application without having to log in to it. Even if it is not mandatory to register in order to use the application, it is interesting that an email account is linked in case it has been changed devices and you want to continue having the conversations that had been started or keep the threads of the reliefs that were being followed.
Next, we will provide two infographics that can be useful for learning how to start or continue conversations.
In this section we will measure the ease with which the user can use the application to achieve a specific goal, in this case is that an older person can meet people and make new friends.
The application is easy to use, although it has an interface with too many menus, with a total of 3. You could try to reduce the number of menus to two to simplify the interface a little more. Older people who want to use the app may have some difficulties at first when locating where all the features presented by the app are located.
The application is very easy to use and learn how to use it so you will get used to its operation quickly, the ease of use is mainly based on learning how to publish a "Relief" so that users can answer or answer one of those "Reliefs". This ease in learning usage also translates to the ease of remembering how it is used if you ever get to uninstall the application since the simplicity of the interface makes it very easy to remember what it does and offers each functionality.
As for its effectiveness, it must be said that the app is highly effective since, it is only necessary to publish a "relief" or answer one so that other users can get in touch. Further, considering that, as mentioned above, it does not require a great effort to learn how to use it it can be said that the product has a high efficiency in terms of achieving socialization with other people.
With regard to portability, Shoulder Friend works on any type of Smartphone, whether Android or iOS.
Taking into account the analysis of each of the above criteria it can be said that the product has an extremely good usability in terms of achieving the objective taking into account the use that older people will give, which is mainly to meet new people with which to talk and share concerns..
In this section, different criteria will be applied to assess whether the application can be used regardless of the capabilities of the user.
Cognitive accessibility – As for the images and icons all of them have a description that facilitates their understanding, even the list of sections found in the drop-down menu has its icon that corresponds to each of the sections. In addition, they are reasonably sized so that they can be properly identified. Note that the description is the same size as the button icon.
Accessibility for people with reduced vision – The app does not have a settings section as such, the más closest you can find to it is the drop-down menu at the top left,in it you can change the theme from light to dark, i.e. change from white background and black letters to black background and white letters. The font size cannot be changed so depending on the screen dimensions of the device being used it is possible that the words may be difficult to read, although it is possible to increase the font size in the overall settings of the device, causing it to increase in the app in turn. To complete this accessibility section it has been decided to do some tests with the screen reader systems available from Android and IOS devices. These tests have focused on checking the correct labeling of the icons and buttons available to Amigo Shoulder. Buttons have been labeled well on all devices where the screen reader has been used, except for the button that allows you to publish a new "Relief" that is identified with a green circular shape with a "+" sign. This happens with both Android Talkback and IOS Voice Over.
Accessibility for people with hearing impairments – People with hearing impairments can use the app without any problem as the app does not contain any sound, except for sounds that can emit alerts displayed in the notification panel of the phone.
In this section we will study whether the application has a correct functioning and has no critical failures that harm the functions of the app.
In the days that the application has been tested has not presented any outstanding or critical malfunctions in its operation.
Privacy and security
As for privacy and security the application does not provide these documents anywhere. In order to read the terms and privacy policies, you need to access the corresponding download stores (Google Play or App Store).
Generally speaking, the application works correctly, no critical failure has been detected that has impaired its operation. As for the use that will be given to it goes this app you can say that it contributes in a splendid way to mitigate the state of solitude that many older people suffer by providing them with the means to meet new people, even anonymously, to be able to talk to them.
The main positive point that the app has is that, being a social network that you have to connect to anonymously, you do not need to log in with any email, although, as mentioned above, it is possible to add one if you want. Another positive point you have is the ease with which you can start conversations of any topic, because just by posting a message on the global plank it provides, there is already a chance that someone can respond and start talking to that person.
Finally, it should be noted that to be able to use this application you need an internet connection, either via a Connection via Wi-Fi or via mobile data.
- It helps excellently to mitigate the effect of loneliness among older people.
- It helps older people meet new people with their own tastes.
- You do not have to sign in to use the app.
- You might consider changing some sections of site to decrease the number of menus in the app.
- You could study the possibility to change the icon of the drop-down menu to that of a gear, which is always related to the application settings.