An Interactive Digital Scrapbook
Connecting Family Through Stories


Scope: 2 Weeks

Role: Concept Development, UX Design, Video

Team: Tyler Gumb, Janel Wong

Categories: Accessibility

Summary: Storyline is a platform allowing families to communicate and connect around the act of creating an interactive scrapbook of shared memories. The stories of our family, especially those of the older members of our family, are precious and full of wisdom. They are at risk of being lost. Through Storyline you can send a picture to Grandma to prompt her to reminisce on a time in her life, like her wedding for example. The audio track made from recording her reminiscence will be saved in an archive, where everyone can comment and add pictures. Other family members can then contribute their own memories of their weddings. The short term goal of Storyline is to encourage more communication and meaningful connection between generations and allow younger people to learn from their grandparents. Long term goals would be the creation of a permanent archive of family memories for all generations.


Storyline won 2nd Place in the Student Design Challenge at the Interaction17 conference held in New York City on February 8th, 2017.

Our previous project Telly was selected as a finalist for the IxDA student design challenge at the Interaction17 conference. During the 3 days of the conference, we were tasked with researching, iterating and prototyping upon our initial idea.  We received feedback from many wonderful and generous mentors including Todd Harple, Ahmed Riaz, Ana Domb, Jon Kolko, and Dave Malouf. Building upon our initial design of a device to aid elderly people with text messaging, we designed Storyline.



Telly was created to create a simplified product and UI to make text messaging possible for older people. Our research suggested this was not as needed as incentivizing communication between younger people and their older relatives.

Knowing that the iteration process once the competition started was going to be intense, we spent two weeks before the competition refining our initial prototype and testing it with 5 people aged 65-85.


Janel and I designed Telly thinking of our own grandparents. Her grandmother is 93 now and my grandmother is 104. Our grandparents' generation had particular trouble adopting computers because they were already too old when they were introduced. The people we interviewed were from the following generation and challenged our assumption that what is needed now is a product to ease text messaging for older people. There was a bit of an age divide with people over 80 reporting some trouble and people under 80 being very skilled at using technology to communicate. Most of the people we talked with were fairly adept at using a smartphone and some of them were even social media users because of the influence from their younger family members and peers. 

We found that technology is not necessary the major problem in the communication, but there are problems around incentivizing and enhancing the communication between the generations.


Additionally, we interviewed 4 people aged 23-30 on their habits for communicating with older loved ones. Technology is not the main reason why it is hard for them to communicate with their grandparents, some of them even have a regular call or text with their grandparents.

We found that there is not much motivation for younger generation to start the conversation with their grandparents.



Storyline is a platform for families to communicate and connect around the act of creating an interactive scrapbook of shared memories. 

A new story can be initiated by sending an image or a text to grandma. This will inspire her to record a reminiscence from that time in her life. We want to empower grandma so she can contribute a memory herself without being prompted. Other family members can add their own memories inspired by Grandma’s story. Over time a rich family history accumulates and the stories of our loved ones are preserved.


We see Storyline as more than a collection of stories from Grandma. Storyline is a framework for structuring family knowledge and we think there are many intriguing further uses and applications. Storyline can help bring the wisdom of the past into the present. For example people can learn about the interests, occupations, or health of other family members and see how patterns in those correspond to them.