UX researcher & designer CS8803 HCI Aug - Dec 2015
Persona, Survey, Interview, Heuristic evaluation, User testing Sketch 3, Framerjs, Github

Memory is a memory reminiscence iPad application for dementia caregivers and their loved ones. The goal of the application is to provide a simple and intuitive way for a caregiver (and their family) to organize photos into a story slideshow presenting precious moments of his/her life, reminding those impressive events (including who, what, when, where etc.), and connecting events that the user may be interested in further retrieving. Memory will also help dementia patients improve their independence through automatically bridging information among their family members.

We have submitted to this project to 2016 CHI Student Design Competition.

This video is credited to my teammate Samuel Cheng.

User Research

Target User

Our target users are primary caregivers for a family member diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Dementia is known as a family disease, which places heavy burden to caregivers due to the current irreversible nature of the disease. As the rate of dementia increases, more caregivers will suffer emotional stress and frustration. We first create user profiles and build persona in target user study phase. persona


The purpose of our survey was to gain responses to our questions that could assist us in understanding our target users, specifically their demographics and main problems they face daily. We posted the survey on a selected few Facebook pages for Caregivers of those with Dementia and Reddit under the Dementia and Alzheimer's subreddits.


We contacted our local Alzheimer's Association Chapter to find volunteers for our informal interviews, and 3 semi-structured interviews with participants that matched our target user population were carried out. The objective was to obtain a deeper understanding of dementia individuals' daily activities and challenges that caregivers face.

The Problem Space

Survey and interview allowed us to develop empathy with these individuals who are filled with love and willing to help their family member. From survey responses and feedback from the interviews, we learned that caregivers are always struggling with: It is also worth to mention that multiple individuals we interviewed indicated that when each individual with dementia was browsing some old photos about him/her or other relatives, even when they can not remember who they are, they showed strong interest and positive emotions during the process.
Evidence-based Design

We conducted two rounds of brainstorming by focusing on our specific problem space and narrowed it down through our discussions. In the end, we decided to design an iPad application that can create memory-based or context-aware stories. The screen of iPad is more suitable to play videos and more friendly to seniors to play with. By showing the stories created in our application to their loved ones, it gives caregivers more time to manage their own household and other duties while their loved ones busy exploring. We also expect this tool to help the patient recall their short term memory with those generated stories.


This is how our Memory journey started!

Workflow & wireframe

When designing the wireframes, we tried to make the logic clear and reasonable to users. There are mainly four components: photo library, story library, family tree and profile. Photo Library is a gallery that stores all family photos. A story creates an immersing experience that helps individuals with dementia reminisce on their family memories. Family Tree consists of an overview of relationships and information of all family members. When we have the conceptual model of the product, task analysis helps us to focus on the main functionality and critical elements of the product.


Here is the wireframe for our application:


Because of the specification of our target user groups, approximately 34% are age 65 or older, despite focusing on normal design principles, we should also consider designing it for the older adult population. For example, visions in older adults vary, many older adults have more difficulty in reading under certain conditions. When making design decisions, such as the height of the navigation bar, font size, contrast between button color and background, etc. we take the specification of our target user into consideration.

The high-fi UI design was created by Sketch 3.

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The prototype is implemented by Framejs with coffee.js. It is hosted on Github.


We conducted expert heuristic evaluation and user test with our potential users. Expert evaluators were asked to fill out a table listing "10 Usability Heuristics" by the Nielsen Norman Group, and assigning it a severity rating. It helps us to determine some of the UI problems in our application.

Usability testing are conducted by our real potential users, who are recruited by reaching out to the local Georgia chapter of the Alzheimier's Association. Each participant was asked to perform the same 6 tasks specifically designed to explore the main functionalities of our app. For each tasks, we evaluate the performance by task success, task completion time, number of errors, efficiency (lostness). After participants finished the tasks, they were asked to fill out a System Usability Scale (SUS) questionnaire and we also conducted brief discussions with them about their personal application using experience. We got quite positive feedbacks from our users.