Seniors Financial Assistance Application

Ministry of Seniors and Housing, Government of Alberta

October 2020 – January 2021 

User Experience Design • Public Service Design • Web


Alberta’s senior population is growing while available administrative resources are shrinking due to retirement and budgetary constraints. 

Seniors and Housing sought to accelerate transformation to a more efficient, self-serve, and senior-centered model for digital program delivery for Seniors Financial Assistance. The desired delivery outcomes were:

  • increasing program efficiency;
  • improving self-service options for seniors accessing benefit programs; and,
  • reducing the number of phone calls/contacts to the Alberta Supports Contact Centre.


Users & Audience

  • Seniors (65+) and soon-to-be seniors (55+)
  • Alberta government staff and call centre workers
  • Seniors families and support networks
  • Private & community housing providers
  • Third-party & community services

Role & Team

  • My role: User Experience designer, User Interface designer, User researcher
  • Product team also consisted of: 3 Full-stack developers, a Strategist, and a Product owner

Scope & Constraints

  • Keeping seniors in their homes as long as possible to increase health outcomes—”aging in place”
  • Identifying gaps in service delivery
  • Addressing needs in a holistic way, beyond income as a sole indicator
  • Create an intuitive and easy interface for seniors to:
    • apply for assistance, 
    • view, maintain, and edit their own files and records, 
    • receive and send communications related to their financial assistance, 
    • make support care requests,
    • monitor and update financial information.
  • Transparent process and information to prevent Elder abuse
  • Find service efficiencies and reduce administrative overhead


  • Someone else is often acting on behalf of the senior. How might we design a system that both protects the privacy and security of the senior, while allowing someone else to assist them, without compromising a vulnerable population?
  • Seniors often have multiple and co-morbid needs and may not be aware of it
  • Information is hard to find and exists across multiple websites and PDFs, across multiple Ministries and levels of government, forcing people to call due to confusion and information overload
  • When people call they receive inconsistent information, due to inconsistent training and the above challenge of information dispersal
  • Seniors in long-term health facility that lack an advocate, or worse, have an advocate that don’t advocate can get caught and lost in the system. How do we build a service that is able to mitigate and empower the senior in these instances?

Our approach

  • Human-centred research and co-design/consultation 
  • Assessment of real need from a wide and diverse set of stakeholders and interests
  • Focus on primary research and workshops
  • Input and feedback would drive and inform additional research / design direction


  • Create an authenticated portal for seniors to self-manage their records (update their income, address details, marital status), receive up-to-date information, see their application status / wait times, and identify their entitlements and usages for existing benefits
  • Create an unauthenticated portal which consolidates links to relevant information that would connect and inform seniors programs for internal and external stakeholders, including seniors and their support networks
  • Continued digitization of documents and processes that enable seniors to self-serve, reducing the frequency and duration of calls to enquire about process and information updates and clarifications

    Artefacts and deliverables

    Product roadmap

    Opportunities and affinity mapping

    Information Concept model

    Storyboard — Current state

    Storyboard — Future state


    Low-fidelity wireframes


    Initial mock-up

    Dashboard information structure

    Dashboard Alpha Prototype

    Dashboard Alpha Prototype — Contact information details

    Dashboard Alpha Prototype — Process information details



    • The project’s funding was cancelled in December 2020, unfortunately
    • The research and assets were turned over to the Ministry with the hopes that in a new fiscal year the project will be re-started, as there is a clear need for the work to continue.


    • There is a growing digital literacy amongst seniors. The stereotype that they are a homogenous group of “technophobes” is untrue; this is particularly seen in the younger segment of this demographic. (Digital adoption and connectivity is increasing annually.)