Best Practice Guidance
Human Interaction with Technology in Dementia


Practical, cognitive & social factors to improve usability of technology for people with dementia

Technologies are increasingly vital in today’s activities in homes and communities. Nevertheless, little attention has been given to the consequences of the increasing complexity and reliance on them, for example, at home, in shops, traffic situations, meaningful activities and health care services. The users’ ability to manage products and services has been largely neglected or taken for granted. People with dementia often do not use the available technology because it does not match their needs and capacities. This section provides recommendations to improve the usability of technology used in daily life, for meaningful activities, in healthcare and in the context of promoting the Social Health of people with dementia.
Health care technologies

Technology design focused on the characteristics of the population provides usability

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To improve usability design of the technology should be developed specifically on the characteristics of the person with dementia, with respect to vision, auditory and cognitive capacities.

Explanation and Examples

Dementia is mainly suffered by elderly people. It´s well known the visual and auditorily perception changes. Shapes, colours, glares, temporal frequency of stimuli, visual acuity, and relevant visual stimuli can be bad perceived. Therefore, the design of any technology should be focused and fitted to these perceptual changes. Consequently, it is important to increase the lighting of the context of the task, the level of contrast and font size.

Equally elderly people might suffer impaired hearing, especially in sensitivity to high frequencies, discrimination of tones and differentiation of the speech of the background noise. Therefore, it is necessary for any technology to increase the intensity of the stimuli, control the background noise, avoid stimuli with high frequencies and adapt the speed of the words.

The design of the technology should take into account the cognitive impairment of a person with dementia (type, level, and deficits associated with impairment). Technology for rehabilitation must comprise different difficulty levels, take slow processing speed into account by extending response intervals of exercises, and an increase the variety in types of exercises.

The degree of usability of a technology will influence the user´s experience, generating a degree of satisfaction in the person with dementia that will affect their level of motivation to continue using a rehabilitation program such as Gradior.

Type of evidence

Angie Alejandra Diaz Baquero (INDUCT ESR15)

RCT Gradior Validation


Toribio Guzmán, J. M., Franco Martin, M.A., Perea Bartolomé, M.V. (2015). Long Lasting Memories, an integrated ICT platform against age-related cognitive decline: usability study. (Doctoral), Department of basic psychology, psychobiology and methodology of behavioral sciences – Faculty of psychology. University of Salamanca, Spain.