4 – Reflection

Critical analysis

This project gave me an opportunity to dig deeper into inclusive design and reveal all the various methods we can use to adapt our design to suit all users. It also made me feel eager to create the products designed for the wider audience, products that solve human needs and improve people's lives.



Final prototype - video


I also got the chance to implement the complete design system from scratch. I understood the design patterns and how they can align with people's mental models, with a goal to be understood intuitively. I understood the importance of testing the right audience, and how thinking outside the box (in this case widening the usage of the app to the tablet as well) can lead to a good solution that users will like.

Phone - Tablet
Phone -> Tablet projection

Strengths & Weaknesses

The main strength of this exercise was that it proved how, when design principles are applied accordingly, every challenge and user need can be tackled and resolved. The first step leading to this would be just realising how disabilities can come in more shapes, and how, depending on the context, each person can be in a position of a disabled person. Having that in mind, pointing our design decisions smarter can bring us to deliver the product for a wider audience.

The main weakness in this project was the usability testing, which was extremely difficult to conduct because of the ethics. Even though it was impossible to find a person with dementia, I managed to get a second opinion from the target user group. The interview I did in the nursery home in Leopardstown helped me to emphasise with the carers and to realise and highlight the most and least used functionalities the carers would use in the app.

Other weakness in my case is a too-wide scope, and my stubbornness to make it narrow and focus on less things. Even though I wanted to solve just one problem, more and more challenges appeared and I didn't want to exclude certain functionalities from the app, such as carer help section. Because of the lack of the time, I didn't do a complete drill-down of all the listed categories in the app but the idea should hopefully be clear.

Changes & Future work

Even though this project is finished, I'm still planning to meet Deidre from Irish Dementia Society and have a chat with her about what else can be done in the app to help both carers and patients. I'll try to test my final prototype with her and hopefully get some answers.

Even though I think I need a special ethical approval if I want to test with a person with dementia, I would like to put myself in the challenge and try to find an alternative solution. I have to admit, this project got me interested in helping people with disabilities, and specially after reading a lot about carers and dementia-diagnosed patients, I realised how serious this is and there is not a lot of things that people do to help them.

This app can be used in nursery homes by carers, but also in patients home by carers and patients' family. I wouldn't limit it just on dementia patients, can be used as a help for any type of staff or a family member who handles a patient where the attention and knowledge of patient's routines is needed the most.

3 – Design development & application of design languages


First, I started with the carer UI where I originally had 4 menu categories:

  • Activity (showing the activities patient had when using a tablet (second UI))
  • Diary (containing personal info and patient routines)
  • Admin (place to manage the photos, music and games displayed on the tablet)
  • My Space (space for carer with breathing exercises, calming sounds etc)

Visual Design



The font I chose for this app is sans serif Aspira typeface and components from iOS UI Kit because of their well known, beautiful clear interface.


I read a lot about dementia and carers, but the information I got didn't seem enough. So I decided to contact some nursery homes and have a chat with a carer in a hope they will have answers on some of my questions.

I scheduled an appointment in a nursery home in Leopardstown, and had an interview there with QPSM (Quality and Patient Services Manager). She preferred to stay anonymous.


She gave me some handy advices on how to set the menu and which categories should be prioritised so they can be easily available to the carer. I also got some slides (Nursing Management of Insomnia & R.B) which helped me a lot with content I did in the app. After I did couple of tweaks my prototype looked like this:

Final proto
Click to view the final prototype in Figma



Apple Inc. (n.d.). IOS Human Interface Guidelines. Retrieved April 28, 2019, from https://developer.apple.com/design/human-interface-guidelines/

Aspira Font Family Typeface Story. (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2019, from https://www.fonts.com/font/durotype/aspira/story

Clark, J., & Clark, J. (2017, May 16). Using the Amazon Echo to improve the lives of Alzheimer's patients. Retrieved April 14, 2019, from https://medium.com/@JaysThoughts/using-the-amazon-echo-to-improve-the-lives-of-alzheimers-patients-f5727560a5eb

Jacobs, S. (2017, November 22). Four Basic Types of Meditation. Retrieved April 28, 2019, from https://meditationmag.com/how-to-meditate/four-basic-types-of-meditation/

Logan, B. (2016). Caregiver's Guide to Understanding Dementia Behaviors. Retrieved April 14, 2019, from https://www.caregiver.org/caregivers-guide-understanding-dementia-behaviors

Health, U. (2013, May 09). What is Dementia? | Dr. David B. Reuben - UCLA Alzheimer's and Dementia Care Program. Retrieved April 14, 2019, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIUEBXt0ako

Levi, A. (2017, January 31). Stressed Out? These 5 Relaxing Images Will Bring You Instant Calm. Retrieved April 28, 2019, from https://www.health.com/stress/relaxing-images-to-destress

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Stevenson, S. (2018, June 11). Dementia Care Dos and Don'ts: Dealing with Dementia. Retrieved April 28, 2019, from https://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2013-02-08-dealing-with-dementia-behavior/

2 – Problem definition

Problem Statements

Problem statement
Problem statement - patient
Jobs-to-be-done version

And there is also a problem statement for a carer / family member:

problem statement
Problem statement - carer

Target users

Having in mind that people with dementia will have difficulties with using an app, I decided to create an app with two interfaces. The users will be:

  • carer / family member
  • patient with diagnosed dementia


The main persona here is Audrey, with diagnosed dementia. Arthur is her husband and Paula is her carer.

Empathy map

Empathy Map
Empathy Map





Customer journey map


Customer journey map
Customer journey map





Entire worksheet available here in Figma.


Agius, A. (2018, December 6). How to Create an Effective Customer Journey Map [Examples Template]. Retrieved April 28, 2019, from https://blog.hubspot.com/service/customer-journey-map

Klement, A. (2019, February 12). The Jobs to be Done Data Model. Retrieved April 28, 2019, from https://jtbd.info/the-jobs-to-be-done-data-model-b270f6fc445

Fulton, G. (2016, October 26). Making the Web Accessible for Everyone With Inclusive Design and Diverse Personas. Retrieved April 28, 2019, from https://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/making-the-web-accessible-for-everyone-with-inclusive-design-and-diverse-personas--cms-27505

Gibbons, S. (2018, January 14). Empathy Mapping: The First Step in Design Thinking. Retrieved April 28, 2019, from https://www.nngroup.com/articles/empathy-mapping/

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Henry, S. L. (n.d.). Accessibility in User-Centered Design: Personas. Retrieved April 28, 2019, from http://uiaccess.com/accessucd/personas.html

How to write in plain English[Pdf]. (n.d.). Plain English Campaign.


1 – Research inclusive design


Each design decision tends to include or exclude the customers. On the other side, inclusive design considers as many customer's needs and abilities as possible. It stretches wider than accessibility, which is mainly focused on people with certain disabilities and making sites usable for them.

The proposition of inclusive design is that aside from permanent disabilities there are temporary, situational or changing disabilities that can affect us all. Temporary impairment can occur when we use mobile devices in noisy surroundings, when we struggle with screen glare etc.


Principle 1: Learn from diversity

People should be at the centre from the very start of the process, and those different perspectives of each person are the key to true insight.

Principle 2: Solve for one, extend to many

Everyone has certain abilities and disabilities. If we focus on designing for people with disabilities, we can easily end up with a design that benefits to people universally.

Principle 3: Simple and Intuitive Use

No matter what user's knowledge or concentration level is, the design should be intuitive and easy to understand. There should be no complexity and a proper feedback should be given during and after task completion.


Validation of the problem

As people age, they regularly experience difficulties with their motor or cognitive capabilities. In the recent study published by Alzheimer Society of Ireland (2017), it has been stated that the risk of developing dementia increases in older age. They also predict that 150,000 people will be living with dementia by 2046 in Ireland.

This means that the need for carers of people with dementia will also increase. At the moment, family members are providing that care – mostly a spouse or a partner who is similar age as the patient. More than 15% of people have quit their jobs so they can care for their partner and almost 50% of partners/carers said they spent all of their time when they were awake looking after their spouse.



Concept map
Concept map


Study has also shown that 75% of the carers had a "good mental health", while 13.4% of the them had a moderate level of psychological pain. Aggression, anxiety, irritability and night-time behavioural disruptions were graded as the most distressing care-recipient symptoms by carers.

They also found out that 33% of carers had seen a doctor because of the emotional problems they had, and 14% done this after their partner was diagnosed with dementia. 37% of carers reported clinically serious symptoms of the depression.

The scariest fact here is that the depression symptoms did not decrease within those who stopped providing care at follow-up. This means that carers are at a high risk of mental health problems and they should receive the support even after finishing their caregiving role.

The biggest aspect to carer stress was the severity of the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia. Having that in mind, it's no surprise that carer’s confidence in handling these symptoms decreased over time. This highlights the specific challenges of dementia care and the importance of considering a tool/app that could help both patient when having behavioural disruptions and the carer as well, knowing what to do in the specific situation and calm after.



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