UX | UI | Research | Concept | Product
*Alzheimer's is not just a disease of old age. Early-onset Alzheimer's affects many people in their 40's and 50's. They have families, careers, or are even caregivers themselves. Approximately 200,000 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s but many go undiagnosed because of their age.
Since memory loss is the primary symptom of early-onset Alzheimer's, I designed a utility application that discreetly helps users remember and recognize their personal connections.
LOGO + NAMING
The name Amy comes from the name amygdala, the gland which controls memory functions.
User pain points was the deciding factor to personify the app. Users believe as their disease progresses, they become a burden for their caretakers–Amy gives them a "face" to rely on without feeling guilty.
DEMOGRAPHICS + RESEARCH
While there is no difference in the disease, early-onset Alzheimer's patients are classified as anyone under 60 years old. Since Alzheimer's is a degenerative disease, both neurologically and physically, the younger demographic was targeted for their familiarity with technology.
Design thinking was implemented to better understand patients. The empathy map and "A Day in the Life" helped me discover the physical limitations older Alzheimer's patients and drove the shift to early-onset.
Initial app sketches focused on limiting screens for simplicity and ease of use. User testing and A/B testing led to expanding features and discovering the need for a device that would allow patients the option to use the application without their phone.
To create a phone-free interaction, a small camera was designed to attach to the frame of glasses. The user may press a button on the side to capture an image and signal Amy to begin matching.
HOW IT WORKS
My grandmother, Mary Spears, was the driving force and inspiration for this project. Although she was never diagnosed, she suffered from dementia and muscle atrophy that kept her bedridden and unable to care for herself. My family and I would have to remind her who we were or draw pictures and post them in her nursing facility to keep her from feeling alone. A digital product like Amy could have made a difference in her life and it’s my hope that I can eventually produce this product in order to help others who suffer from memory loss.