BoBo is a board which consists of a screen and a grocery list. The main goal of BoBo is reminding elderly with dementia which products they still have at home. Besides this it will also remind a person with dementia about which product to get and when the store is closed.

By making these reminders digital a caretaker can program this in advance; this eliminates the need for leaving notes behind with this information. A person with dementia has a simple clear overview of the products and does not have to worry about which list is for which day.

BoBo will always show the list of the current day. This enables a person with dementia to quickly see the reminder. Alongside of the screen there is a note block which enables a person with dementia to write down the groceries they need to buy and the groceries they still have at home.

BoBo is a product developed within the project: “Innovate Dementia” at the TU/e. The goal of this project was to design a product for people with dementia. The biggest cause for dementia is Alzheimer. To get a better understanding of what happens to your brains when you have Alzheimer I recommend watching “What is Alzheimer’s disease?” by David Shenk.

Why does BoBo look like this?

Within the design process of this project I went through a couple of iterations, incorporating user evaluations and expert input. Bellow you can find a list of conclusions that are incorporated within the final concept of BoBo.

To read more about BoBo and the development process I recommend reading  the report. For a short explanation of the process including pictures you can visit the process page.

The results of the user test showed that the users preferred to have a written list to remind them of the groceries they still have at home.
Within the brainstorm conducted with a fellow student the outcome was that to make the product work people need to trust it. By letting a person with dementia write the list himself they have the ability to check if the products are really in the kitchen and the list will have a familiar handwriting. These factors will help in gaining trust in the product.
The colour green was chosen to stimulate the visual experience. Green stands for good which resembles the products they do need to get. The colour blue was chosen because this is a neutral colour. The other option was to use red for the “Products that are still at home” part. Some say a red colour will be more effective, however this will also make the adding of groceries (with a then also red button) seem like a negative action.
This eliminates the need for written notes and/or grocery lists made by the caretaker. The problem with these lists is that they need to be stored somewhere in sight and that you need to pay attention to which list is for which day.
interface mantelzorger_toevoegen
A visual connection between a virtual screen and a physical list will stimulate the understanding and use of the product. The visual connection between the two is made by using the same colors and connecting the lines to form a square.
The reason for this is that the attention of the user should not be drawn to this too much; this may lead to reversing the effect and getting the products instead of not getting them. Another factor is that a person does not need to write down everything they have. The problem mostly lies in getting one or two products over and over again. This would mean that only putting these products on the list of products that are still at home should solve the problem.
The way the products are visualized on the screen is the same way products where visualized on the cards of the first prototype. When testing this prototype the concept was too difficult, however the cards where recognizable and easily understood. Therefore these visuals are implemented in the screen of BoBo. This kind of visual stimuli is also good when looking at people with dementia because there are two ways their brain gets stimulated; with a picture and with a word. This should help in recognizing which products are displayed on the screen.
Doing this will mean that the user is bound to go to this particular supermarket. Because cheap and small stores will probably not invest in this, BoBo will limit users to go to the big supermarkets. Now BoBo can be used by everyone no matter which store you visit.

What did I learn?

During this semester I went through a design process that I feel really fits my identity. Doing multiple iterations and evaluating these iterations with users and experts helped me to have this reasoning driven approach. By taking the results of the iterations into the next one I came to the final concept of BoBo. I believe this gives the product a greater potential to succeed because of the input that it already has from users and experts from the earlier iterations.

The design process I went through fits with my identity and my goal of becoming a design researcher. The next steps within developing this design process is to learn more on what the best ways are to involve users and experts. Things to think about here are what meeting setup works best and in what stage of the process should this happen. Learning about this will also enable me to plan such a design process ahead.

While doing this project I noticed that I still find it difficult to make a planning for the whole semester. The planning I made at the beginning of the semester was used as a guideline and altered along the way to fit the decisions I was making while still keeping me on track. I wanted to have a good understanding of the problem people with dementia where facing and I did have some problems with a “writers block” and therefore I was behind with the planning. I did plan the last weeks so that a final prototype would be presented during the demo days; unfortunately I did not have time to evaluate the final prototype with the users. This makes it difficult to answer big overlooking questions as for example: “Will BoBo really eliminate the problem?” I have a feeling it does, based upon evaluations and input from earlier iterations; having feedback from the user on the end product will give a better image of this. I agree with the feedback from my coach that answering questions like” Does it work?” or “Does it make people more autonomous?” is something to look into more within future projects.

Within the feedback my coach also mentioned the growth within my visual communication (images, sketches and concept renders) and model making/prototyping. Developing these skills through doing the assignment exploratory sketching and by practicing quick ways to prototype helped me within my design process. Having clear sketches helped when communicating concept ideas within coach meetings and expert meetings. Model making and prototyping helped me with validating concepts with experts and users. By making a quick and simple prototype it is easier for a user to understand the concept and give meaningful input on the idea. These factors are important factors for me in this reasoning driven design approach.

Here you can read the feedback from my coach: R.G.A. Brankaert.