Swedish Institute of Assistive Technology
Increasing quality of life
for adults with ADHD

In this research project we set out to develop concepts for products and services that make everyday life easier, more fun and less frustrating. By designing for people with ADHD we design the best solutions for everyone.

Veryday collaborated with SIAT, the Swedish Institute of Assistive Technology, and Klara Mera, the Center for Cognitive Support, to respond to a government commission to make people with neuropsychiatric disorders more involved in the community. The project was named C.O.M. to highlight that our teams worked deeply on the themes of Concentration, Order, and Memory. We established a multi-disciplinary team to develop new and effective tools for everyday life tasks.

A co-creative process

The pre-study narrowed down the user group to adults with ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder), a commonly overlooked and stigmatized group of society. Adult ADHD is defined by inattentiveness, impulsivity, over-activity and restlessness. It is connected to learning difficulties, sleeping problems, and overstress. Our process engaged end users and occupational therapists.

I need something that would help me wind down and feel at home.

Anna, 35

ADHD affects the life of many adults who find it hard to maintain structure, keep track of time and dates, manage their emotions, and remember simple information. Difficulties that everyone has to some extent. By designing for people with ADHD we can create solutions that are also helpful to everyone in their daily lives.

 

 

It’s easy for me to forget to do simple things that I have to do regularly, such as taking my medicine.

Jon, 25, about living with ADHD

Designing from strengths

This research project is a good example of Inclusive Design. Our teams worked deeply on the themes of Concentration, Order, and Memory (C.O.M.), taking learnings from the pre-study, user observations and collaborative sessions at people’s homes.

We developed a set of design principles to work from; the concept needed to be attractive and useful for anyone, offer users support to help themselves, and be visual and even playful. To maximize periods of surplus energy we needed to ease personalized solutions. Our path was clear; we wanted to utilize people’s strengths, encouraging a sense of achievement whilst building a human support network. The project generated seven conceptual ideas, ranging from physical products to digital services. Two of the C.O.M. concepts are described below.

The Hub – A Strategy Portal

A day in the life of Karl : Karl takes the subway to work every day. He finds it very stressful and needs ideas on how to cope. He writes down his thoughts on his phone about why he gets stressed, keeping himself busy during the journey. Today he feels particularly uncomfortable. He sends a quick message to the forum: “It feels like everyone is watching me…I’m starting to panic, what should I do? Help!”

The Hub is a mobile portal to a human support network. It helps Karl handle stress and emotions in real life situations. He can use it to write about his feelings and to get immediate response from others in the network. He can also access advice, tips, articles, discussions and apps related to his needs and interests. He can just use it as a diary to note his feelings, and share them with his coach later on. The Hub helps people help each other, by supporting reflection & action through sharing.

Presence – An energy calendar

A day in the life of Maja : Maja just got a promotion and needs to update her calendar with new tasks. It will be a challenge not to get overwhelmed. Knowing that she has less energy in the mornings, she starts by placing a permanent low-energy marker on these hours. Maja’s boss wants to book a meeting and gets reminded that Maja prefers meeting in the afternoon.

Presence supports individual time management through easy to understand visualizations of energy levels, visualizing real and perceived time. Maja can manage her availability in relation to her personal energy levels, and share this with selected family members, friends and colleagues. Presence also helps her identify her patterns, and lets her handle her changing preferences and limitations accordingly. It offers tools for sorting, focusing and prioritizing time and tasks. The energy calendar lets her plan her life and prevent stressful situations by maximizing her time and supporting her limitations.

I need help finding my patterns to keep a routine, so I could reschedule things to do on time, so life doesn’t get to be too much.

Lisa, 35

An app would be really cool. Create your own goals; get help to reach a higher goal by milestones. Be your own coach.

Lasse, 28