Service Design | Design Research | Interaction Design
The objective was to explore spaces of technological intervention in the area of mental health. Our team decided to tackle the intricate relationships between caregivers for Alzheimer's Patients. The caregivers are also a stressed-out group, they need to make sensible judgments for LOs with Alzheimer’s take their medication promptly and keep responsibility shared between the caregiver circle. Currently, these tasks have placed a significant burden in caregiver’s lives.
Lead Visual Designer
Interaction and User Experience Designer
2019-2020 September - November
Figma, Photoshop, Illustrator, Ipad, Protopie, pen and paper
CareConnect is an app that enables caregiver circle to share, notified and keep everyone stay in formed on their loved one's conditions. This ensure the cirlce of caregivers also keep informed and communicative about their loved one’s conditions and better share the caregiving responsibility.
In the United States, prior to the pandemic, Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death and cannot be cured, prevented, or slowed. My grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 8 years ago. At the time when I was working on the project, he was already at the end stages of this chronic illness. As a distant family member, I could not do much to help physically beside the few visits over the years, the burden of caregiving fell mostly on to my aunt’s shoulder. There were a lot to take on, every couple of months medications changes, and caregivers also change.
(I created the diagrams to illustrate current problems within the interpretation process)
Initially after our secondary research reading through articles and literature reviews, we started with a probe activity that broadly speculates around some concerns that caregiver has. As we set out to initialize our probes, we found that people are more willing to talk about their pain points and their experiences on caregiving. So we followed up with interviews and observations to inform our design decisions.
(our initial probe designs and deployment at senior centers)
Because the population we are trying to reach out is highly vulnerable, we leverage existing programs to reach out to potential participants. We visit the Frye art museum and speaking with caregivers to solicit stories about their experiences in a caregiver role. We attended the Alzheimer’s Café at the Frye, where the museum provides a unique opportunity for people living with dementia, their care partners, family, and friends to enjoy companionship, good food, music, and fun in a relaxed environment.
Through our research findings, we identified there are nuances within the relationships of the caregivers. Because we understand that Loved One (LO) with Alzheimer’s relies heavily on the caregiver circle, we wanted to focus our attention on the caregiver circle and strength their communication.
The primary caretaker often had to hire full-time or part-time professional caregivers in order to have time for personal relief, but with more people taking on the caregiving, duty coordination becomes a challenge.
The stress and chaos of care-giving don’t only break down caregivers’ health, but impacts and strains their relationships.
While patients’ needs are clearly perceived, the counter impact on caregivers often stay invisible, even to their close friends and family.
Help relieve stress and intensity during the fast speed simultaneous interpretation.
Minimize the stress of caregivers by making day-to-day life easier through an organization, labeling, and record-keeping.
Present correct information to our users in a way that appears reliable and solid.
Empathize with the user who is under emotional and physical stress. It should read as respectful and engage the caretaker at an appropriate level.
（Sketching ideas )
CareConnect is a method of keeping the circle of caretakers (mostly family members) informed about their LO (loved one) with Alzheimer’s. They have access to the app version which contains more detailed information about the medications and current caretaker on duty.
Medibox is a concept that assists caretakers in medication tracking for their Loved One with Alzheimer’s. This idea pairs together a pill case and a smartphone application to keep track of what time and what pill caretakers need to give to their Loved One. Additionally, this concept is particularly helpful for stand in caretakers as they will be directed towards what to do at what time with ease.
WithU is a concept for the LO one to take the medication with a sense of companionship. In this case, both the caregiver and the LO with Alzheimer’s have a lightweight band that reminds them of when it’s time to take medicine. While the caregiver might just be taking a vitamin, the LO will react in reciprocity and will not feel like taking pills is a solitary act. Once both have completed the task, the band will show the sync icon to encourage them to take medication together.
We went through a process of down selection using 6 thinking hats, and dot voting to come up with three ideas that is the most promising.
I first created paper prototype on Marvel to illustrate the basic flow
(we tested with 5 participants)
For this round of prototype testing, we wanted to first gather feedback on the three ideas that we had. I created a paper prototype that illustrates the basic flow of how the app works. We want to find what are the types of content that stakeholders would like to understand about their Loved One's Conditions.
We tested each of the ideas with our participants - we have the medication input, the physical medication box, and the journal entry workflow. We created three scenarios with scripts to have these individuals work through the process and give overall feedback after the session. This helped us narrowed down our focus and validated some of our assumptions.
Would like to check for WHY meds are missed instead of just being informed about it happening (understanding vs knowing)
People are hesitant about how much effort the caregiver needs to put into the system to document the journal.
There is a trust issue with the physical medication box as a caregiver taking medication from the box relies mostly on the person who put it in. (needs a way to validate.)
I created the branding mood board and set the colors for the product. We identified that we want the brand to feel light, care, and warmth.
I set up the visual systems before diving into the high fidelity prototypes
I created these custom icons to cater to the different functions we identified in the low-fi prototypes.
The four panels outline the core services of the platform. The color palette I picked emphasis friendliness
The interpreter can also sync their screen with the deaf and hard of hearing individual because DHH although they might not need this would still be helpful sometimes for them to have this visual access.
The user can set up preferences to remind them about documenting Love One’s conditions throughout the day. This way, everyone can stay informed about the conditions. Understanding that there are a lot of burden on the active caregiver to attend to medications and their own lives, I designed the experience for journey inputing as effortless as possbile for them.
The user can set up preferences to remind them about documenting Love One’s conditions throughout the day. This way, everyone can stay informed about the conditions.
The user can respond and comment on the Active Caregiver’s journal input.
1. The project would have benefited from reaching out participants early and often.**
- Part of the sensitivity around the topic area starts to undercover when we spoke with actual potential users. From the secondary research we perform, it gave us a really good overview of what the disease is, but it doesn’t undermine the problems that caregivers are facing.
2.Being able to back your argument with research findings and speak up on things you are not satisfied with
At the beginning we are going down a route that would directly help LO with Alzheimer’s. I am personally influenced by the fact that my grandfather is at the severe stage of the illness, and I understand the emotional impact his illness is having in my family. It takes time to build up a design rationale and it takes research to show that the problem I’m facing actually can be validated by others.
3. Setting up a design system for a better workflow
I realize that everyone has a different working style. It is important to set up the expectation early on how the teamwork together in order to avoid unnecessary inefficiencies at the end. This includes setting up a branding guideline that aligns the visual systems, and also UI components for multiple people to work in the same file.
Despite that we have done tons of work, the time to present the big idea is only constrained to 10min. It is important to start with the structure of the presentation early to make sure the audience you talk to can quickly understand your project.
We need to test our high-fi with participants for feedback on the types of information they care to include in understanding their Loved One’s Conditions
We have thoughts to include a physcial component to track their loved one’s vitals to better inform the circle of caregivers and alleviate input burden from the active caregiver. We will further need to design how to tend to privacy measures to ensure the validity and security of these information
We want to refine how the caregiver circle can further utilize this platform for coordination duties amongst themselves to minimize conflict when it comes to share caregiving duty and make it more visible to others the amount of work invovled.