Innovation for Independence

Easy TV: Access to Television for people living with Dementia

Publish date:
16/01/2015 - 3:28pm
Last updated:
23/03/2015 - 3:48pm

Our idea is to create a TV system that is easy to use for people living with Dementia. This is important, Dementia affects around 850,000 people in the UK and 40% of older people say the television is their main source of company. If we can make television more accessible it will have huge impact. (Statistics from and AgeUK, 2014) Existing solutions demonstrate universal capabilities, but there is not a remote control and/or user interface that is effective in addressing all the issues that people living with Dementia may face: • Setting up the TV • Perception of information • Forgetting how to use the remote and its functions • Need for carer assistance or support We are designing a product that will allow people to maintain independence by compensating for cognitive decline. Our research has shown it is important to find a balance between simplicity and choice. We have explored an attractive non-stigmatising product, with an intuitive user interface that will prompt and support the user through tasks. There are two solutions we are exploring: • A simple remote control with a user interface on the TV screen • An app based remote control solution for users with tablet devices with complimentary features supplied via a smart TV box

Insight & Impact

Poor remote control design has been a common theme in our extensive user engagement activity. In a study we conducted, with the Alzheimer’s Society, we found that only 18% of the 99 participants could operate a television independently, 51% would like to be able to watch programmes on demand, and 58% had not used an easy to use remote because they were unaware they existed. This research also exposed clear reasons for television viewing; it appears to give a sense of connection to the outside world and provides a form of companionship. (Evans 2012) Working with Age UK, The Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Support helps us better understand the aspirations of this user group. There is huge scope to improve the products offered, particularly to users who live with memory problems and also to those who seek a simple, intuitive remote control. A review of research into the use of technology for people with Dementia highlighted issues around: • Familiarity (recognition of new technology) • Accessibility • Complexity (feeling overwhelmed and confused by too much choice) • Opportunity to create a personalised experience (adaptable to individual needs) • Perception (of functionality and interpreting information clearly) • Eligibility/clarity for visual impairment • Intuitive orientation • Ergonomic form

Skills needed for this project

  • • Prototyping partners
  • • Manufacturing partners
  • • Sales and Marketing – media, partners and branding