Memoir Monopoly (Mind)
Cho Szu-Yang (Designer)
Cheng Ya-Fang (Designer)
University: National Taiwan University of Science and Technology
A tablet-based rehabilitation game platform for dementia patients, Memoir Monopoly integrates photos from the players’ lives into interactive challenges that exercise their memory and recognition abilities. The team was driven to create the design in order to help the increasing number of elderly dementia patients — especially in Taiwan, where team lead Cho Szu-Yang says products and services for this group are lacking.
Inspiration for Memoir Monopoly
“We met an experienced occupational therapist involved with the long-term care of seniors with dementia, and who wanted to enhance the quality of their rehabilitation activities. We were inspired by his passion. We also collaborated with multidisciplinary professionals including physical therapists, information engineers, and UX designers, all hoping to innovate products and services for the aging of Taiwan, and contribute to understanding the problems they face.”
Time Developing Memoir Monopoly
“We have been working on this project for three years. We adapted the research-through-design paradigm and user-experience innovative design process to develop the Memoir Monopoly project. We went through three iterations of UXD and UXT, revising design details for a better user experience:
“First, working with an occupational therapist, we visited daycare centers and observed seniors’ current reminiscing activities as led by caregivers. We conducted user experience research (UXR) of current tools used by the senior dementia patients in rehabilitation activities to reveal user needs in interactive reminiscing games.
“Second, we conducted user experience design (UXD) based on our UXR findings. We worked with software engineers to build multiple working prototypes and held discussions with caregivers and therapists.
We made more than four prototypes, and used feedback that we received from the users to refine our iterative design, resulting in the development of a highly flexible reminiscing rehabilitation computer game called Memoir Monopoly, which allows users to upload personal photos and preferences into a customizable game map for use with applicable materials based on personal experiences.”
“Third, we conducted user experience testing (UXT) to examine the final working prototype. Memoir Monopoly was successfully applied in field tests with 30 rehabilitation groups at daycare centers. Based on observation and post-interviews with the therapists and caregivers, we found that the senior dementia patients who participated in the activity were more willing to share their stories through their own photos and movies. They also showed more interest in playing the reminiscing games on Memoir Monopoly than playing previous paper-based games.
“The results of this preliminary research demonstrate that our design resolved problems found in the UXR. Now, we are bringing our service into six daycare centers in Taiwan, hoping to bring our design and services to more seniors.”
Key Takeaways Learned While Developing Memoir Monopoly
“Our user experience research (UXR) of current tools used by the senior dementia patients in rehabilitation activities revealed several user needs for creating interactive reminiscing games:
“Sequence activities: The game should be clearly structured into a sequence of warmup, physical orientation, main activities, and review. That way, seniors know what they are doing at every step, which minimizes confusion.
“Create complementary activities with suitable goals: Reminiscing, sensory stimulation, cognitive training, reality orientation, and activities with suitable goals all provide joyfulness and achievement, while also reducing problem behaviors.
“Integrate personal experiences of players: Most of the existing reminiscing games do not directly link to the seniors’ personal memories. When an elderly person looks at memory cards, it is hard for them to share stories, as there is not enough personal experience to stimulate their memory. It is also difficult for the caregiver to facilitate reminiscing activities and keep everybody interested in the game.
Consequently, we created a senior-friendly interface, with information on the UI
displayed step by step, so the group of players can focus on one goal at a time. The interaction design is simple and intuitive, using easy gesture to interact with the game, so seniors are able to play by themselves — enhancing their willingness to play.
“Avoid lack of interactivity: Senior participants find it difficult to follow the instructions because the tools are not intuitive enough. They are often confused about which game piece belongs to them, where they should place the piece, and which stage they are at in the game. These kinds of problems are frustrating and may interrupt the activity, and seniors may even quit. Therefore, it is also difficult for the caregiver to lead participants in reminiscing activities. This is why Memoir Monopoly provides sounds and visual instruction to encourage and give feedback to seniors, giving them a sense of accomplishment and achievement during the game.
“Make games customizable: It is difficult for game leaders to prepare suitable and different level of difficulties materials that are suitable to the participants’ condition. In Memoir Monopoly, game leaders can easily create a customized game based around different difficulty levels and rehab goals of the seniors through personal photos, music, videos, and question cards.”
Future Plans for Memoir Monopoly
“We plan to expand our platform to include an app, more customized games, and a database of memoirs. We also hope to keep on bringing our service into day care centers, households, and beyond. Occupational therapists can visit elderly individuals and collect personal experience with their families, such as photos, videos, and songs, then use Memoir Monopoly to create customized rehab activities. These professionals can record the family’s reaction and give useful feedback to family members, such as interacting skills and rehab activities which can be carried out in their daily lives.
“Memoir Monopoly has been successfully brought into 40 group rehab events in six day care centers, played by up to 200 attendees, and is now a regular service in several day care centers. From this, we learned that our game was not only a memory tool, but had become a new kind of activity for the elderly. They enjoy Memoir Monopoly with groups of friends, gathering together to play and share stories with each other, building trust and bonds within the group, further enhancing their social relationships and satisfaction in life.”