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Mobile Health Meetup #6 – Designing with the dementia community

Mobile Health Meetup #6 - Designing with the dementia community

For our 6th Mobile Health Meetup, we were joined in the studio by Holly Brenan, user experience designer at ustwo and Alice Osborne, head of design at Active Minds, to talk about designing with the dementia community across digital and non-digital products and services. Our very own Emilie Glazer facilitated the conversation and shared some of our experiences of working on Dementia Citizens.

Holly kicked off the discussion with an overview of Keepsake, a pilot for a digital product that uses natural language processing to support care and management staff in dementia care homes by reducing the amount of time they spend documenting with pen and paper. She spoke about the added value of designing a product from the bottom-up with the direct input of carers and staff.

Alice introduced us to Active Minds and some of their activity products and games for people living with dementia. We had the pleasure to experience first hand the thought, consideration and creativity that goes into creating these products as Alice brought some in for us to explore. She talked about the challenges of designing meaningful activities for people living with dementia, but also about the immense rewards.

Across the initial conversation and later Q&A we spoke about the importance of creating products and services that harness people’s skills, knowledge and stories, and about their potential to bring people closer together. We talked about how digital technology enables personalisation, while physical objects can engage senses in very visceral ways. We shared experiences on how the processes of design, prototyping and research have to adapt in order to be sensitive to the context of dementia, and how a small thing like a sticker can help overcome some of the challenges of introducing new products and technologies into care environments.

For all this and more, listen/watch the whole conversation below and have a look at our Storify roundup of the event.

A big thank you to Holly and Alice for their time and insights and to all those who attended the meetup and joined the conversation!

Also… that wraps up our Mobile Health Meetups for 2016! This year we exchanged ideas around rethinking research ethics for digital health and overcoming barriers in developing medical apps. Thank you to everyone who took part in our events, as a speaker or a curious attendee. We’re already preparing our first meet up for 2017, so make sure you join the community here and we’ll be in touch. See you in 2017!