Simple chat app for elderly

During the Covid pandemic one of the great concerns was loneliness amongst elderly people. They often live alone, don’t have many social activities and using a computer or smartphone is difficult for them. A lot of social media platforms have many functions and navigating through them can be overwhelming. This lead me to the idea of a very simple chat app, on which users can talk to strangers with only one click on a big ‘start’ button. Often, they are skilled enough to visit a website, and this will be enough to be able to using this chat app. If that is difficult still, they can get help the first time by caretakers or family and for example create a shortcut link of the website on their home screen. The site is called ‘Een babbeltje’ can be translated to ‘small talk’.

Once the start button is clicked, the user is linked to up to three random other users. Here I’m connected with my laptop and smartphone. The connection has end-to-end encryption. Only the IP adresses are known by the server, this is of course necessary to be able to link the users. I host this server at my home.

Users can ban another user if they don’t like their behaviour, again with only one click. In this case, these user’s IPs will not be linked to eachother anymore. It is also possible to open a private chamber, accessible with a link. This can be used for example by family who open this private chamber and send the link to their elderly parents, so they only have to click on the link. Or they save a shortcut of this link on their parent’s home screen.

Has it been used? Not really haha.. Obviously, you need a lot of users that start using the app simultaneously. I tried to get help from news papers and care homes and even spread flyers. But if you want enough users for such a platform to be a success, you just need a really big campaign. Still, it was a fun project and nice to learn how to build a chat app.

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