An innovative and immersive activity Alexa skill for seniors. A Screenmedia initiative in partnership with Sport England and Demos.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, most of the UK population was placed under stay-at-home orders, with millions of the most vulnerable ordered to shield, effectively preventing them from leaving their homes and denying them vital exercise. We found that few exercise apps targeted elderly people, and those that did often had a poor user experience, whilst official advice on exercise was difficult to find and very generic.
We developed the idea of creating an Alexa skill with an easy-to user interface which older people could use to access ability-appropriate activities to keep them healthy and active. Our idea attracted the interest of Sport England, who were running an open call for innovation projects to support people in keeping active throughout the pandemic.
Each of the 37 activities within the 10 Today content was categorised by muscle group. When the user begins a session, the skill randomly selects a set of 9 activities, with provisions to ensure a mix of muscle groups are worked out each session, and repetitions of the same activity are kept to a minimum. To help users tailor the experience to their own ability, they can rate each exercise the first time they hear it, with the skill remembering their preferences, and withholding activities they find too challenging. This allows users to build up routines that are personalised to their individual ability.
The 10 Today skill for Alexa was launched in September 2021 for both audio and screen-based Alexa devices and was selected by Amazon for inclusion in their September highlights.
Launched to coincide with Demos’ release of Season 2 of 10 Today, with a raft of new activities for older people, we are now planning for future expansions to the skill to continue to support older people in staying active.