In collaboration with six other project partners, Ergosign contributed to the research project eDEM-CONNECT and supported it through the collaborative UX design approach — the project aimed to create a digital communication and service platform that supports caregivers of people with dementia. With repeated involvement of potential users, eDEM-CONNECT developed: a digital platform with an integrated chatbot, a search for local support services and a knowledge portal with informative articles about dealing with people with dementia.
On the eDEM-CONNECT platform, caregivers can find information and assistance regarding dementia care, especially behavioral challenges such as excessive restlessness. Throughout the project, we faced two challenges: Firstly, the topic of dementia is emotionally charged. Secondly, user acceptance played a crucial role in the digital application, particularly concerning the skepticism often associated with chatbots in this context. Ergosign contributed to the research project's conception, UX design, and visual design, making a significant contribution, especially in terms of including the older user demographic.
The human aspect is always central to us. Therefore, potential users were consistently involved in iterative development cycles throughout the design process. This approach allows us to identify the needs and requirements of potential users for the application.
This research project is unique because all project partners worked simultaneously and cooperatively on various tasks. Following the collaborative UX design approach, we engaged the project partners in developing the design solution. For instance, a collaborative scoping workshop helped establish a shared understanding of our target audience's needs, and a collaborative ideation workshop generated concept ideas. Based on these results, we created the MVP concept and supported the sprint-based development by Fraunhofer ISST, the project partner responsible for development.
The result is a website that supports caregivers in their (caregiving) routines with people with dementia through various features. An available-around-the-clock chatbot offers quick assistance and the opportunity to ask personal questions. The "Regional Support" search function enables caregivers to find support services in their area swiftly and easily. The knowledge portal contains a spectrum of informative articles and relatable real-life stories about dealing with people with dementia, so users can identify with their situations and concerns and find support.
Our design focuses on being well-received by the predominantly older target audience. Sufficient contrasts, large elements, and appropriate typography make the content easily perceivable. Design-wise, the sensitive handling of the emotional aspect is conveyed through warm color schemes and supportive illustrations.
eDEM-CONNECT was initiated as a research project by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and received funding. Ergosign, along with six other partners, worked on the project during its three-year duration from February 2020 to January 2023. These project partners include the University of Witten/Herdecke, the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), the University of Rostock, Fraunhofer ISST Dortmund, the Protestant University of Applied Sciences Nuremberg (EVHN), and YOUSE GmbH. These partners come from various fields, contributing different perspectives and knowledge to the project and handling various tasks. Ergosign was responsible for the conception of the UX and visual design.