My Life Story is an iPad app that helps those suffering from dementia, and their caregivers, through the creation of “life stories” using photos, text, music and voice.
There are three primary users of the My Life Story. These are not exclusive but are what we optimise the experience for.
Nurses affiliated with Aged Care Revolution will have a single iPad for multiple patients. Patients range from mild memory loss to level 6/level 7 Alzheimer’s.
Primary Care Giver
At home, the content creator will be a family member, probably a son or daughter. They are expected to be middle-aged, with a moderate understanding of technology.
The final user will not be required to create any content, however, we have accounted for many mobility and accessibility challenges.
Mirroring the parent company logo, we created a visual similarity with the networks in the brain that are encouraged when using the memory app.
The play button, hidden inside the brain shape, signifies the playing of the slideshow in the app (its primary feature).
Our guiding principle was: Accessible.
Never before had it been such a priority as it was now, considering the users.
We used a large serif font for the headings akin to old newspapers, bold, primary colours for cognitive stimulation and oversized buttons for the UI.
The UI prioritised mobility, going back to early digital surfaces that use skeuomorphic elements and limited swipes and hidden gestures. We focused on taps.
When building any user interface we always consider how much control the user needs. With too much control a user might get lost, too little and the user becomes frustrated.
Consolidate photos from multiple places and save them all on your iPad.
Add their favourite song. Music enlivens and connects people to their past.
Add Your Voice
Record a description or tell a story. Use the language they can best understand.
Written words are familiar and can add meaning for those who can still read.
The user is only ever presented with one choice at a time. This sequence of choices is then repeated over and over for each slide.
The sequence is accompanied by tooltips (also clickable), and desaturation upon completion.
Advanced controls were hidden behind the album settings: destructive processes like, “delete slide” “add & remove song” and “delete album.”
Each of these processes has safeguards in place as well.
The user was often of advanced age, and reduced motor control, we were worried that they may accidentally exit playback and not be able to find their way back.
For this reason, we added a series of complex gestures to exit the app.
It was very clear what functionality we needed to achieve our goals, but it came down to the importance of each element.
Apple’s default photo app performs many of the same functions but My Life Story’s strength is in its understanding of its users.
We tailored the User Interface to meet their needs specifically while at the same time creating an engaging experience.
Genevieve Major – My Life Story
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