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.
Social Health Domain 1: Fulfill ones potential and obligations

The application of digital Patient and Public Involvement in dementia research should take into account technological, involvementability, resources and ethical and welfare conditions


Digital Patient and Public Involvement (e-PPI) provides opportunities, for example, in terms of saving time, not having to travel to meetings, and fewer organizational tasks, such as transporting PPI representatives to the meeting venue. However, to optimize digital Patient and Public Involvement (e-PPI) in dementia research, technological, involvement ability, resources and ethical and welfare conditions should be taken into account.

Explanation and Examples

When applying digital PPI in dementia research it is important to consider four key areas of conditions. Taking these areas into account will allow identifying improvements that can be made to e-PPI to make it more effective and efficient, and problems avoided (see also Figure 2):

  1. Technological: refers to constraints, preferences, and opportunities of the used technology.
    Improvements: virtual platforms must be considered as part of the toolkit to perform PPI; hybrid options (digital and face-to-face) must be provided.

  1. Resources: is associated with personal resources such as fatigue or personal resilience; professional resources such as increased demands on conducting PPI online; and other resources such as costs of coproduction platforms, phone credit, printing, software, or budget for more frequent meetings.
    Improvements: make sure additional resources are included such as technical support staff or reimbursements for online meeting costs; face-to-face training could help participants to learn how to use the platform.

  1. Involvementability: refers to requirements that are related to the success of a design task or process. How involvement differs in a digital space or how it can be translated to different populations online.
    Improvements: smaller groups can help prevent attention wandering; limit the number of people on the screen.

  1. Ethical and welfare: describes aspects such as the welfare of public contributors (people with dementia and caregivers), digital exclusion, impact on social communication, data security, etc.
    Improvements: consider the configuration and history of the group when choosing which platform and approach (online, face-to-face or blended) to use; follow-up of public contributors’ welfare

Type of evidence

Mauricio Molinari Ulate (DISTINCT ESR7)

Qualitative study, online focus groups, digital PPI


Molinari-Ulate, M., Woodcock, R., Smith, I. et al. Insights on conducting digital patient and public involvement in dementia research during the COVID-19 pandemic: supporting the development of an “E-nabling digital co-production” framework. Res Involv Engagem 8, 33 (2022).