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Solo Project 12 Weeks 04/2022

A traveling disco for over 50’s aimed at improving mental health in older populations by promoting social engagement and increasing health through movement.

  • Researched why social contact declines in the later half of our lives and how that effects mental health. 
  • Conducted user interviews to assess over 50’s social habits after the pandemic.
  • Researched longterm benefits of dance, music and social connection.
  • Conducted user research to understand pain points in my target demographic Organized and hosted a pilot event in my community.
  • Documented the event and used this material for my design.
  • Created a functional high-fi prototype in Figma.


Problem Discovery:
What am I trying to solve?

What exists?
How does dance help?
Initial Research
I decided to focus on dancing because, in my opinion, it is the ultimate celebration of being alive. From field research, I found that once you hit forty there is nowhere to dance in Ireland except maybe your niece's wedding.
South Korea

South Korea began hosting discos for the elderly to combat depression and loneliness. Approximately 1,000 visitors would show up at the disco each weekday, with this number often doubling on the weekends.
The Medical Benefits of Dance 

Initial Interviews
I began interviewing people in my target demographic to glean whether there would be any interest in a dancing event specifically for my target demographic. I found that there was interest and my interviewees had several helpful insights on what could improve the evening.

Reseach Goals

Existing Solutions
I conducted a competitive analysis of key direct and indirect competitors to better understand what was on offer for my target demographic.

The Interviewees

Quantitative findings

Social Fulfillment
Participants rated their social fullfilment on a scale of one to ten across their lifetimes. The decade from 50-60 was clearly the loneliest.

Participant Input on the Event

The Pilot:
Is this a viable solution?
The Preparation
There was a LOT of preparation involved in organising the event. I have mapped out the process below.

Project Management
The event was attended by 200 members of my target audience. To ensure that things went smoothly I recruited some friends to help.

Icebreaker: The Dad Dance Video Booth
From my initial user interviews, it seemed like some sort of icebreaker would be needed to allow people to loosen up a bit. I devised a “dad dance booth”. I set up a green screen and my videographer, Jakob, set up a monitor so dancers could see themselves dancing in space or on the beach. This footage was recorded and later used for promotional material.

Which solution will work?

The Props
I made these glasses as props to be used by dancers on the night because some of the feedback I got from my initial interviews suggested that people might not feel confident enough to start dancing. These acted as a sort of mask. They are seen here modelled on my dad.
He is a very good sport.

Follow up interviews
After the event, I followed up with many of the attendees. I interviewed them about their experience and their recommendations for the development of this project.

Key Findings

The Design:
How will it look?

I used my photographs and footage from the night as content in my promotional material. I used bold colours and created an icon based on the lights of a nightclub. I used bold, vibrant colours and copy that alluded to club culture and music from 80’s Ireland.

Product Design Poster Suite

Motion Promotion

Product Design

Plan a Reprise

The Exhibition:
How will I showcase it?

The Blue Print
This was my thesis project and was displayed at our graduate exhibition. I had to design how I would display my project. I wanted my exhibition to have the same energy as the night itself. I built a lightbox using RGB strip lights and panels of wood. I cut out all the letters using a laser cutter and black card. Then I stuck tracing paper on the back and filled in the counters. I tiled the sheets together and rigged them on planks of wood I had nailed to the wall.

Lightbox plan

Sticking all the counters on with double-sided tape. Nearly lost my mind. Watched 3 seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer while doing this.


What did I learn?
How could I improve?

Success Metrics:
The event was attended by roughly 200 members of my target demographic. I raised €1000 for the Alzheimers Society of Ireland. The evening was immensely enjoyable and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. I think if I hadn’t moved to New York to pursue my master's I would have turned this into a weekly event.

I began by interviewing my target audience at the very start. I think this helped me to better understand what kind of night they would be interested in and tailor the experience to their “in-jokes”. For example, in the 70’s and 80’s in Ireland, you could get a chicken dinner in night clubs. I made a lot of jokes around this in my promotional material.

Next Steps:
If I was to make this a weekly event I would have to decide if it would be a local event or a national travelling service.


© Dayna Brislane 2023