UX Research | Voice Interaction | Cognitive Accessibility
Supporting aging in place for people with MCI or ADRD
CLIENT: IQ Solutions
DURATION: August- May 2021
TOOLS: Figma, AfterEffect, Preimier, Voiceflow and Miro
ROLE: UX Researcher & Designer
TEAM: Shive Ghasemi, Eli Kumar, Harmit Sampat, Matthew Ryson,
Nat DeMonthon, Yichong Zhang
How might we design a low-cost smart speaker solution that supports and motivates individuals living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and early-stage Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias(ADRD), so they can age in place for longer?
A Personalized Voice Assistant as a Companion
Care+ is a low-cost smart speaker system that offers people with cognitive impairments a new way to live independently by promoting mental and physical wellbeing through motivational prompts and in-context reminders.
What’s in the system?
1. Motivational nuggets
We researched different methods of motivational techniques, which are integrated into the prompts Alexa gives to motivate the user. with motivational techniques such as the Goldilocks Rule, progress streaks, and family recordings.
2. AI-based activity suggestions
Initial onboarding weighs suggestions, then asks more questions over time.
Contextual info such as weather, holidays, and empty time on the user’s calendar.
3. Proximity-based reminders
The smart speaker speaks to the user only when they are nearby, especially when they are close to a specific task.
4. Companion device / motivational coach
The system recognizes progress and streaks to further motivate the user. Progressive intensity for some tasks.
Conversational and friendly tone.
We ran a series of 5 successive design sprints for the duration of one year. Along the way, the Google Venture's Design Sprint methodology was adapted based on our understanding of the project's requirements. We also modified the structure in a way that would be more suited to a remote environment.
Our journey throughout the year
There are many task reminder systems on the market that utilize smart speakers, but none seem to address proximity to the speaker. We presented a concept that utilized Bluetooth beacons, smartwatches & speakers to provide proximity-based medication reminders.
We found out that medication adherence was not a compelling enough use case, so we turned our attention towards supporting users’ hobbies, skills, and interests with basic task assistance. Staying socio-cognitively active is key to staying in the MCI stage of ADRD for longer
After realizing that the challenge was not really about supporting users during the activity but motivating them to engage in the activity — the system was enhanced to provide personalized prompts using various motivational techniques which help users keep track of the activities they love. We also and focused on incorporating our two use cases of gardening and guided mindful stretching.
Since participants wanted a high level of customization, we decided that onboarding would be the most important next step in Sprint 4. We wanted to figure out how to ask just enough questions of the user to get the most immediate functionality from the system without being too cumbersome.
Conversation Design + Wizard of Oz Approach
Use an improv wizard of oz testing format to better understand how users would interact with the system. We also continued expanding on conversation design in Voiceflow.
What we learned about our users