From the outset, the Carelink team identified the importance of a user-centred approach as a core philosophical tenet of the design and development process. For this reason, a 2-sided approach to technology design and development planning has been adopted. This user story-mapping process is informed by the work of Jeff Patton and has evolved over a number of stages.

  1. Initial user requirements and feedback identified through interviews with people with dementia, informal care givers, formal care givers and experts at a number of locations in Belgium and Switzerland. (more on this in our next blog post)
  2. Based on this feedback, an initial 4 user scenarios for the Carelink platform were prioritised
    1. [Detect] Find the person with dementia.
    2. [Predict] Identify a wandering occurrence and predict when a person with dementia might wander.
    3. [Inform] Inform the carer/community how best to approach/relate to them to successfully deal with such an eventProvide training and support for Carelink platform users including informal caregivers and community members.
    4. [Integrate/Enhance] Develop an open platform that allows other relevant service providers to integrate.
  3. Through both individual contributions and collective discussion at a technical team level, and in consortium-wide collaborations the user stories have been developed in a structured format. For each scenario, actors have been identified, user stories enumerated and described with relevant goals and desired outcomes for each story.
  4. Separately, a user-map, early version in the diagram below, has been developed which identifies platform goals (green) and tasks (orange) in sequential order (the order in which a user would interact with the platform).  This map has been further broken down into iterations corresponding to software releases
  5. Finally, the user stories have been cross referenced against the user map, closing the loop on this 2-sided approach and ensuring that every story has a corresponding task.


This approach has several advantages. The end user is the starting point, informing the design and development process. There is a real emphasis on ‘the story’ and the breadth of that story initially. Who is interacting with the platform? What do they want to do with the solution? Why –  what is their desired outcome? The 2-sided approach helps ensure that critical features are not omitted. The sequential, left-to-right ordering of the user-map enables a logical development with linear progression that reflects the relative importance of the scenarios. The horizontal ordering of tasks, linked to specific goals allows for a pragmatic release schedule. Details, variations, alternatives and exceptions populate the body of the map. One of the most important benefits of using stories is a shared understanding. By developing stories around the tasks, eventually the fine-grained development tasks that need to tackled will be identified.

This is, of course, a continuous process which will be revisited with subsequent releases and revised as more feedback and validation comes from the key stakeholders.

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