Grace Living

Grace Living

Grace Living
Project title
Grace Living - Designing for the elderly to bring families closer together
Product designUser researchUXUI

Grace Living Website Redesign

Working with a small, independent Residential Care Facility, to help connect their elderly residents with their families.

The challenge

Grace Living needed a way to connect their elderly residents with their family

With their business growing, Ivy and Michael, the owners, approached my team and I hoping to help solve this issue. Grace Living is a 'residential care facility for the elderly', so families being able to get a sense that their loved ones living at Grace Living were happy and being taken care of was extremely important. My team and I sought to implement ways in which Grace Living could grow while showcasing the care and community they've worked so hard to build at their facility.


Problem Space x3

There were three problems we uncovered immediately after diving into our brief and performing an audit of Grace Livings UX space:


Our User Centric Approach

Our team came up with an approach to tackle these problems which.



Our Research (What is an RCFE?)

  • An RCFE is a mixture of the direct, hands on care of a nursing home and the family style aspect of an assisted living community.
  • Having family in an RCFE is a massive financial and emotional decision often surrounded by a complicated web of health issues and a deluge of choices.

So one of the first things we set out to do was to understand the RCFE space, especially in Southern California where our clients were located so we conducted a competitive analysis:

Our research began to show that people were actively seeking out Grace Living's 'high touch' familial feel, as they didn't trust places that billed themselves as "luxury destinations (the cruiseship model).
Our research began to show that people were actively seeking out Grace Living's 'high touch' familial feel, as they didn't trust places that billed themselves as "luxury destinations (the cruiseship model).

Competitive Analysis Key Takeaways

  • Certain competitors (especially Sunrise) did manage to communicate that they cared about their elderly residents were transparent that the decision to move away from home was a tough one.
  • The companies that were able to portray and communicate the sense of 'homeliness' and care our clients were looking for did it by honestly showing families realistic resident life designed to uplift and inform.
  • Some presented their facilities like they were luxury resorts and often showcased activities on their sites that their residents simply couldn’t do.

Talking to People (User Interviews)

Our first user interviews focused on both our potential users and our SME's.

We primarily wanted to focus on: residents and their families, and elderly healthcare specialists.



Coming to our Persona

Our user interviews and our exploratory research helped us come to our persona. We talked to real people and learned about the most common problems and needs they had.

In addition, we got our clients perspective on the user they thought we ought to be working toward, by leading them in a proto-persona exercise. Having our clients work with us toward our persona allowed us to see that they really cared about their residents family being able to see the genuine care that they fostered at Grace Living.

Having this persona helped us immediately move forward as it solved a big problem for us - who our target user should be.


How to Reflect a Caring Atmosphere?

We’d done our research, and crossed one of our initial problems “who should our target users be” off the list. Based on our talks with our SME’s (and a very productive workshop with our clients) we had our persona.

But, how to fulfill our clients and our users wants - to see Grace Livings web platform reflect a homely, caring atmosphere? How do you levarage technology to show homeliness? It was somehting we seriously needed to consider, and it strongly influenced our problem statement.

Using a User Journey Map

At this point, we had our persona together and a lot of research so we wanted to work a bit more toward understanding how an acutal user would move through the site as it was and how we might want it to be.

To invision this, we developed a user journey map:

Placeholder image
Placeholder image

This allowed us to go right into the meat of what we were solving - the problem statement.


Principled Design

We also moved forward with a set of design principles that we would use to guide design decisions moving forward. We wanted prioritize Grace Livings own principles, and what we’d learned about designing for the elderly.



Getting our Priorities Straight

Our brief still wasn’t scoped down enough and we didn’t want to spend time coming up with concepts that were not feasible to implement or valuable to our users. So we asked our clients to work with us to develop a priority matrix.

The priority matrix we made with our clients. Listing problems to be solved, voting on them, and brainstorming solutions. Then ranking those solutions by how valuable they might be to users and how difficult they would be to implement.
The priority matrix we made with our clients. Listing problems to be solved, voting on them, and brainstorming solutions. Then ranking those solutions by how valuable they might be to users and how difficult they would be to implement.

Wiring Frames and Fleshing out Concepts

Our concepts were designed with the following three categories in mind - we thought these were the best ways to tackle our problem statement:


Blog section

Meant to be a space for one resident (here our fictional resident harold) to update both his family and other residents on his activities, and be a space for him to share thoughts and journal. If Harold isn’t able to do it, it would be a space for his caretaker to facilitate connection with his family and showcase Harolds days at Grace Living.

Weekly Calendar

This would be behind a family portal and only accessible by family and staff. It would show a residents activites, doctors appointments, and allow a family member to schedule time to meet their family member (in person, or virtually with staff help)


Concept Testing

We definitely wanted to make sure our assertions that our concepts were useful to users were validated - so we knew we needed to do some concept testing with more users. We spoke with both current family, and Grace Living staff this time around.

Events Page

This is a public facing news and events page, with an accompanying calendar for Grace Living as a whole.


Our Key Takeaways from our concept testing:

  • While our designs were aimed at the family of Grace living residents - their staff would find them useful too
  • While things like the 'News and Events' pageand the 'Weekly Scheduler' were deemed very useful concepts - we found that users wouldn't have a lot of use for some of our designs. This meant we knew what to move forward with and what could take lower priority


Come together

We wanted to streamline and help organize our convergence - so we got together and first made our site map.


Furthermore, we wanted us to be really consistent when designing our screens - and we wanted to take a closer look at the websites top navigation anyway; so we came up with a more accessible version of Grace Livings top nav:


Our Proposed Solution

Placeholder image
Placeholder image
Placeholder image
Placeholder image


Tasks Aplenty

We based usability test on several tasks and evaluated our users on several metrics (task completion, user percieved difficulty) to collect quantitative data about our proposed solution.

The tasks, given as fictional scenarios were -



In terms of our metrics our designs tested very positively with users!

4 out of 5 gave it a rating 5 (out of 5) when asked if the features met their expectations, and an

Average task rating of 2.1 (of 5, the lower the better).

The Future of Grace Living


Grace Living for Mobile

A part of our redesign, and especially important to our clients, was that we made sure what we designed would be, not only Wix compatable (the site builder our clients use) but also work for Wix’s mobile responsiveness implementation.

The Beginning of a Full Platform

A lot of our suggestions to our clients at the end of our time working with them were the quick wins we could do

  • Plugins for Wix that would closest approximate our designs - especially for the calendars.
  • Redoing their top nav and adding in COVID information
  • Simple renames or copy changes.
  • Add in a News and Events page, as users find it valuable.

But mainly, what we suggested to them was that they use the features that we designed as a way to keep their online platform worthwhile and relevant to users especially as their business continues to grow.

We really wanted to focus on making something that not only made Grace Living stand out, but provide them with the launching point they needed (a robust family portal with value to their users) to grow, while not having to sacrifice the quality care and connection that they are known for and that their residents and their families love them for.

UI Design

Recommendations for Grace Living HiFidelity

The owners were interested in some hi-fidelity screens as well, especially for the home page.


Grace Living Home page redesigned to:

  • Simplify the top navigation into only the most important parts of the site, and make things like the 'COVID Banner' and 'Contact Us' button stand out.
  • Give the logo for a more clean, modern look.
  • Help ground the visitor in the type of place Grace Living is, showing real pictures of activities and community.