Swapnil Kosarabe

The Problem

People with Dementia struggle to remember who, what, when, and where. It is possible to reorient early stage dementia sufferers in a state of delirium. Symptoms include forgetfulness, limited social skills, and thinking abilities so impaired that it interferes with daily functioning. The challenge was to develop a system to assist Dementia patients in recalling their memories. 

 

Duration: 6 weeks

Team: Swapnil Kosarabe, Eric Smith, Rachana Solanki

My Role: I participated in user Research process and assisted team members in creating sketches, storyboards, and final designs.

 

The Process

User study - Observation and Interviews

As a part of the research work, we visited assisted living center in Brownsburg to observe the behavior of dementia patients and gather information about their interactions with their family members, friends and most importantly technology (devices like mobile, laptop, etc). We conducted contextual interviews with three elderly people in assisted living and discussed their weakness, strength, their likes, dislikes and one thing they need assistance in.

Above studies assisted us to identify user needs and provide a viable solution to following questions

  • Do old people get involved in any kind of social activities?

  • How do old people make use of technology like mobile, Ipads in their daily activities?

  • Which tools do old people use to interact with their families and friends?

  • What methods or applications does assisted living center use for reorienting dementia patients memories?

  • How do old people remember the upcoming events, birthdays and appointments?

Interviews and observations at Assisted Living. This visit provided us an opportunity to observe their lifestyle closely.

We visited an event where we interviewed older adults about their likes and preference towards technology.

People preferred to be socially active and got involved in almost all games and workshops scheduled for the day.

Key findings

Old people in the center had several devices like mobile, Ipad, television, etc. to stimulate their mental activity but one thing that restrained them from operating was the complex interfaces and lack of instructions or tutorial to run them.

Dementia patients needed some assistance to recall their memories during early stages of Dementia. In such an emergency, volunteer or family member showed them relevant images or videos to jog them out of the Dementia attack. We decided to simplify the process by designing a Timeline.

Require a quick and emergency assistance for Dementia patients to recall their memories and stimulate their mental activity during early stages

Research Insights

After carefully going through articles, we deduced three main aspects contributing towards prevention of Dementia.

  1. Being socially active and mentally stimulated

  2. Involving in volunteering activities and interacting with friends, families, etc.

  3. Learning new languages or playing cognitive games

Understanding User needs

After interviews and observations, we drafted user persona’s to understand the specific user group and their expectations from the product. User personas consisted of two user group one who suffers from the attack and second the volunteers or the close member of the sufferer.

Ideation

After interviews and observations, we drafted user persona’s to understand the specific user group and their expectations from the product. User personas consisted of two user group one who suffers from the attack and second the volunteers or the close member of the sufferer.

Brainstorming process revealed several ideas based on the concept of engaging socially and stimulating mental activity. After careful observation, we decided to create a mobile app which would consist of following feature:

Timeline based on Reminiscence therapy

 

Creating wireframes

I used Balsamiq to create the functional prototype for user testing and evaluations.

High fidelity screens

Message feature provides a platform for old people to engage socially. Notifications above messages catch users attention and prompt them to look at it. ‘Wish a birthday’ prompt users to initiate conversation and remember close one’s birthday. Long press on the profile icon of contacts displays their relationship with the user which helps old people to recall their memory. 

Timeline interface is based on the theory of Reminiscence therapy which assists old people to walk down their memory lane. Patient’s families can use this feature to reorient their memory during a dementia attack. Memories are categorized into different life experiences, and related images and videos are uploaded into it with dates and location of each image. Initial user testing revealed that old people enjoyed spending time with the memory lane feature which stimulated their mental activity.