SIMI App – Social Interaction Made Intuitive

Design Challenge

#2: How might we encourage our community to support one another and look out for those who are socially isolated?

Project Description

We have begun to see the pandemic take a toll on the psychological well-being of our community. A group particularly vulnerable in this aspect are the elderly who live apart from their families. To address this deprivation of human interaction, we plan to introduce SIMI – a mobile app that triggers and facilitates the digitization of interactions among the members of our community, beginning with the core component, our family. “SIMI” stands for Social Interaction Made Intuitive, which is also our vision statement. SIMI brings carefully curated contents and features geared towards igniting meaningful conversations and activities within the confined privacy of a family setting.

Criteria #1: Value

SIMI app’s unique focus on family not only facilitates members’ interaction online but also promotes intergenerational engagement among members who may otherwise communicate rarely. It differentiates itself from existing social media that are not effective in revealing the emotional element in relationships. It is also an intelligent app that can suggest activities to do together. SIMI brings value by proactively triggering meaningful interactions through intelligently curated suggestions based on key family events and data collected from the gamified interactions among the family members within the app.

Criteria #2: Inspiration

We want to approach the solution with gamification and low barrier of learning. Our app design principles are age-friendly, relevant, and intelligent. The app name, “Simi”, which means “what” in Hokkien, has a local sense and will likely be the first reaction of most Hokkien or “Singlish”-speaking seniors when asking them to try out the app! With this local sense, the app will be easy for the seniors to remember and relate to. Also in the app, there are multiple sets of curated quizzes tailored to promote deeper understanding of family members, which is a result of questions crowdsourced from children who want to know their elderly parents better.

Criteria #3: Impact

While the young may not instinctively connect with their old folks via conventional social media, doing so within the family space of SIMI will ensure that the seniors do not miss out. SIMI helps address the missing ‘trigger’ that brings family members to better understand one another. The enriched family bonding will mean elderly can remain engaged when staying apart from their families. Meanwhile, the younger generation will be able to better understand the changing needs of their old folks and better cater for their welfare. Overall, SIMI promotes healthy family relationships, potentially benefiting all families in SIngapore and beyond.

Criteria #4: Timeliness

We have formed a team with diverse backgrounds – working professionals, designers, developers and entrepreneurs. We also have 2 senior advisors in their 70s who can give us good perspectives and connect us with other seniors. With the first draft of prototypes already completed, we aim to have our MVP ready by mid-May, release the beta version in June, and launch the public version by August. We are also reaching out to various communities through our networks to test out the MVP and iterate the app.

Criteria #5: Systems Thinking

While SIMI app allows users to interact virtually within the confined space of a family setting, SIMI has the potential to work in tandem with an array of family-oriented service providers and events targeted at families or segments within families. Community events that have to shift online amid today’s challenging environment can leverage on SIMI to reach out to their target audience. SIMI is also a great avenue for businesses to advertise family-targeted products and services and SIMI will play its part by intelligently curating these external contents based on key family events and the users’ interactions within the app.