A digital platform fostering connections and amplifying positive emotions for those living with dementia and their caregivers.

TEND, the Tookit for Experiential WellbeiNg in Dementia, is a digital platform designed to assist people living with dementia.

The primary goal was to foster connections with caregivers and amplify positive emotions, while simultaneously decreasing stress and anxiety.

TEND was a project of Studio Elsewhere, a bio-experiential design company.


Defining Problem Space

Defining the problem space for TEND involved working alongside researchers at Harvard Medicine and Massachusetts General Hospital. Through interviews, surveys, and secondary academic research we surfaced the complex challenges faced by dementia patients and their caregivers: 

  • Emotional challenges experienced by people living with dementia: disconnectedness, frustration, shame, and a lack of psychological safety
  • The struggles of caregivers in maintaining connection while providing care, compounded by a lack of appropriate care resources.
  • Issues related to equitable access to necessary services and supports for both the dementia patients and their caregivers.


The approach to UX and product design for TEND was multi-staged:

white paper

  • A design strategy based on research that suggested world building and connecting to creativity
  • Research had indicated that physical metaphor could significantly improve navigation for users because it promote free flowing creativity and exploration, mitigating feelings of stress and anxiety
  • Interviews, planning and alignment with stakeholders
  • Harvard Medicine backed surveys to measure attitudes in the dementia community and later success metrics
  • Conducting interviews with caregivers for deeper user understanding
  • Prototyping several designs and iterations
  • Evaluative usability testing with 20 dyads of caregiver and patient
  • Data analysis

The final step was building out an interface that explored different educational modules that facilitated feelings of emotional connection, awe, wonder, and creativity. Each module was based on dementia and caregiver research that suggested certain activities.

Site Map

Creating a site map for the TEND project was essential in organizing work and ensuring alignment on the project structure. The site map served as a visual blueprint, outlining the primary sections, modules, and navigation pathways within the platform.

Initial Wireframes

In TEND, the use of a physical skeuomorph of an island informed the initial wireframes by creating an intuitive, comforting, and engaging environment for users with dementia.

During the early prototyping phase of Flourish, we explored both neumorphic and flat design UI styles to establish a cohesive visual direction. Neumorphic design, with its soft shadows and layered effects, aimed to create a tactile, intuitive interface that felt natural and engaging. In contrast, flat design focused on simplicity and clarity, emphasizing functionality with clean lines and bold colors.

Early Prototype of Main Screen
Onboarding Screen Prototype

Onboarding Screen

In order to personalize the experience and direct the user(s) in the right direction an onboarding screen was created. This made users feel that the experience cared about them as individuals and that it would provide the appropriate type of journey.

Introductory Screen

Prior to entering the TEND isle, we needed to give the user a bit more context and also provide the ability to skip the intro in case they were already familiar with the navigation and concept.

Home Page Navigation

Based on the research conducted, we knew that world-building and exploration was critical to the success of the experience. The island metaphor was chosen to provide a familiar, simple, and skeuomorphic navigation that facilitated open exploration, reducing anxiety around the "right" way to go through the experience. The buttons were designed to be equal in weight and as clear orbs in order to emphasize exploration and maintain the theme of open world.

The project also needed to satisfy accessibility requirements and provide calm so the color palette, typography, button and navigation affordance were all designed based on that.

Hover states for each location

Each area of the island contained an educational module for the patient that facilitated feelings of exploration and creativity. The reason we provided additional context for each area of the island was because we wanted caregivers and patients to feel secure and confident about the module they were about to enter into.

Module Screen Example

Each module on the island contained an experience for the patient that facilitated feelings of exploration and creativity. The patient would work alongside the caregiver to input different choices or open text fields. After all the choices were made, the backend of the system would provide a summary and story of the inputs.

Module Screen Example


  • Co-authored a peer-reviewed white paper titled "Bio-Experiential Technology to Support Persons With Dementia and Care Partners at Home (TEND): Protocol for an Intervention Development Study". This paper explores the use of bio-experiential design, design thinking, and technology-based solutions to assist those living with dementia and their home caregivers.
  • Successfully prototyped and built the Tend platform, which is now actively being used in a pilot program, demonstrating its practical application and efficacy in real-world settings.
  • Advanced the studio's design practice by deepening our understanding of accessibility and inclusive design for individuals with neuro-cognitive impairments.