Take a Cue from Qcard: Review & Giveaway
While most apps on this blog are for use in therapy, this week I'd like to discuss an app that may benefit clients living with brain injury, dementia, or other memory impairments in their lives outside the therapy room. Qcard is a new life management app for iPhone designed by a brain injury survivor to help others like him. Smartphones are natural memory-helpers with built-in calendars, appointments, contact books, and reminders, but for people with neurological impairments, separate apps are difficult to learn and don't offer enough support.
Qcard has a clean interface with color-coding of 3 basic types of entries: appointments, quick reminders, and guided tasks. There are also lists that can be created independently or associated with another entry.
When setting up a new appointment, the app allows the user to add a description, contact info (pulled from the user's contacts), date and time, recurrence, reminder, and travel time. The travel time aspect stands out as a unique feature of this app; so often people with brain injury forget to account for how long it takes to get somewhere. The appointment-editing screen also lets you add list items, reminding you to take the things you need to the appointment.
A quick reminder can be set to remember to complete tasks, with reminders going off every minute until it is marked as complete - perfect for those with short attention spans. A reminder has a description, a time to go off, recurrence options, and an optional list for tasks that require additional information or steps.
If a task requires multiple steps that the user has difficulty remembering, guided tasks remind the user along the way. For a non-impaired person, a reminder to "do laundry" is probably sufficient; for someone living with brain injury, laundry is a multi-step process that may be overwhelming. Qcard lets you break down the task into washing, drying, and folding with reminders at the appropriate times.
A few suggestions I have for this app include more options for recurrence (i.e. allowing for appointments to occur every 2 weeks or on the last Friday of the month) and rewording a few prompts. For instance, when entering an appointment, the label "Set Due Date" is confusing - it could say "Start Time" instead since appointments start and aren't due. This app has no picture support, so it can only be used by people who have no trouble reading or typing. Another shortcoming of this app is that it doesn't sync with other calendars, requiring all existing appointment to be manually re-entered.
Overall, the interface is clean and reasonably easy to navigate. There may be training required for a brain-injured person to use the app independently, but it can be mastered with support. This app was designed to be used on the iPhone as it must go everywhere with the user to be effective, but it will work on the iPad or iPad mini. The built-in tutorial and website are useful for learning, and the developer is quick to respond. For just $4.99, this app could be the difference between dependence and independence for brain injury survivors in the community.
The developer has generously donated a copy of Qcard for one lucky reader. Keep it for yourself or give it to a client who may benefit. Just comment on this post and we'll pick a winner next week.