This website was designed and developed by Aaron Buratti to be accessible to those living with dementia. We published the following from his design docs to help the understanding and promotion of dementia friendly web design.
You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First, and perhaps most importantly, I did a lot of research about dementia accessible web design. There is some serious academic work on the subject and few websites that have done a lot of work to center people with dementia in their usability. I built on their work. One of the most salient principles they listed were to not make it too flashy or have a lot of visually intense elements. So when you explore the website notice how many of the elements of the site stay the same (except for the home page, more on that in a moment). This is by design in an effort to reduce confusion and what may, in the end, just be clutter to a person with dementia. In a similar vein the text isn’t overwhelming in its length or complexity and all of the pictures next to the text are directly related to the text itself.
As long as we are talking about the text please notice the “listen to page” button. This feature was also suggested by my research. This button automatically reads the text in the center of the page. This is an effort to reduce the confusion or loss of train of thought during reading that can happen to people with dementia. Every page is as equally accessible in this way. Another button to notice is right below listen to this page, which is “print this page”. This is given as an option so that people with dementia can more easily take the information in their pocket, pin it to a surface, take notes on it, give it away, etc. The button brings up a print window already formatted so that all the junk we’ve all seen when someone tries to print a web page is avoided. The other two buttons that interact with the text are found in the top menu bar; “larger” and “smaller”. They make the main text of the page (and only the main text so that there isn’t unnecessary movement and discontinuity on the page) larger or smaller. This is of course in an effort to serve those who may have vision impairment for any number of reasons.
The other button on every page is a facebook button. This button is designed so that people can share the content provided. I decided to include this button as isolation, stigma, and shame are unfortunate parts of the issues surrounding dementia. This button, in its own small way, could help raise awareness and visibility of the disease. It will also perhaps lead to conversations or other interactions centering dementia.
Another accessibility feature guiding people through the website is the fixed menu on the side. This is in a fixed position and should always be visible. Moreover, that color of purple has an incredibly high color contrast to white. Even higher than black. This website rates very well on accessibility as far as the difference between colors goes. Similarly, this is also why there is only one type of font and it is very legible. All of this is to make the site as readable and navigable as possible.
Coming back around to the front page, it is a bit more aesthetically lively than the other pages. This was done to make it clearly different from the other pages, inviting, and to make the coming content obvious. You will, I hope, agree that it is done in a balanced and measured way that complements the other pages but isn’t overboard and cluttered visually while still keeping the accessibility buttons mentioned earlier.
The other thing I would like to explain is that this site was designed for the devices that elderly people and people with accessibility issues usually choose. These, in general, are larger devices usually desktop/laptop computers and ipad devices. The site of course looks good and works on mobile devices but this was done after making the best balance between looks, accessibility, and features possible for the devices that our intended audience will be using most frequently.