ITP Spring 2011 Microsoft / Design Expo
Summary: “Memo Link” is the concept for a web-based application designed for people with Early Stage Alzheimer’s and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) to help them better cope with the challenges of everyday life. MemoLink was a collaborative project that originated in Nancy Hechinger’s “Deisgn Expo” class, sponsored by Microsoft, at ITP. The site has not yet been developed but exists only as an experiment in concept and design. To the right is a section of our final presentation deck.
Background: Here in NY, a group of 20 people dealing with the early stages of Alz get together every Thursday for a few hours at the Alzheimer’s Association to talk about their lives, play word games to keep their brains active, and
offer support for one another. This Thursday meeting is the highlight of their week. We believe this feeling should not be limited to just once a week. This has been our inspiration for developing a product to help people cope with early stage memory loss and maintain a high quality of life.
Currently, nothing exists to specifically help people with MCI and ESA better cope with the daily demands of normal life, in particular time management and sense of community. Our project is an opportunity to fix this problem. By redesigning webtools that already exist, we are creating an application tailored for this demographic to help them better deal with the challenges their disease imposes. MemoLink thus focuses on daily scheduling, staying in touch with friends and family, and keeping your mind active.
User Experience: We consulted with people at the Alzheimer’s Association to see what was most important to them in terms of design and functionality. One of the first comments we received was to keep the amount of content, on any given page, to a minimum. Our home page is thus meant to convey a feeling of simple and intuitive interaction allowing a user to complete tasks without distraction. In terms of style, professionals we spoke with indicated patients do not want to feel any stigma about using a program that seems like it’s meant for users with a disability. As a result, we attempted to keep the site simple without being stark; fun, but not childish; and sophisticated but not flashy.
Goals: Our hope as a group was to create a product that would not only be a beneficial tool for this underserved demographic, but also raise awareness for this group of people whose population is growing rapidly. Below is a video we created as part of our final presentation to help people better understand MCI and ESA. We would like to thank Paulette Michaud, Holly Engard, and the entire NYC Alzheimer’s Association for their support on this project.
Collaborators: Jeremy Diamond, Angelia Yu, & Naliaka Wakhisi