April 2020 Update

Posted in: EngD, Planning, Research Project, Updates

It's been three weeks since I updated you on how my supervisors and I decided to reshuffle the plan for upcoming research activities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given everything that has happened in the meantime, I am glad we made the decision to postpone the study and focus on other elements of the research project; all three of the risk factors I mentioned did indeed show up!

I have been meaning to write another blog explaining what I have been up to, but the truth is... not much has changed for me in that time. I am still working from home on weekdays, and continue my role as care assistant on weekends. I am grateful for the opportunity to have a regular change of environment, a luxury that I know many people reading this will not have in the current situation.

Working from home

Working from home does present a number of challenges, but I won't get into that here, because there are plenty of tips and tricks about how to work effectively at home online. I consider myself one of the lucky ones, since I know for others, like parents, working from home can be more difficult than it is for me, so I am just trying to stay as productive as possible. Although productivity might be down overall, I think I have come to accept that the 'good days' probably aren't going to be as good as they once were, whereas the 'bad days' will be just the same. One of the nice parts of working from home is that on an unproductive day, usually there's something fun to do to distract you.

Maintaining positive connections

I am also trying to maintain positive connections with peers and friends using all those online tools we've all started using. This includes:

  1. meeting with supervisors to discuss my project;
  2. meeting with friends for our weekly craft session (a really nice way to unwind);
  3. meeting with the other seminar co-chairs to plan a seminar event (more on that later this month);
  4. keeping up-to-date with my Designability colleagues; and
  5. catching up with friends and family.

All of these are things I would routinely be doing under normal circumstances, most of them in person, but I'm encouraged by how simple it's been to adapt and glad that everyone else is on board. Where would we be without video conferencing?!

Some new development

There is some new development in terms of my research project, though. As part of the reshuffling of activities, I will plan an online study with the aim of learning more about what makes a 'good' augmented reality prompt in the context of making a cup of tea. This will help us to answer some important design questions before testing them with people living with dementia. There is scope to be really creative with this, because of the need to develop a new approach to conducting research in this time of social distancing.

In the coming weeks, I hope to share some initial designs of the experiment and how I go about turning this unexpected change of circumstances into an opportunity.

If you are finding it difficult to focus on work or adapt, or if you have any questions, my email inbox is always open. Just get in touch!



Posted in: EngD, Planning, Research Project, Updates


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