New website at Alzheimers Rsearch UK

British charity Alzheimer's Research UK has launched a website giving families of people living with dementia information on new research and treatments for Alzheimer's and related diseases.

The site – The Lab – takes the form of a virtual laboratory and hospital, a 3D environment offering text, slideshows and videos about how research is funded, clinical research and new treatments.

Visitors to the site are able to sign in using their Facebook details, although it's not a requirement. Those that sign in will also see friends' profile photos in the site's intro film, and can post a pledge of their support for dementia research on their Facebook walls from within the site.

"We felt there was a bit of a gap in trying to get public information about the research process itself. Dementia research turns up in the media with varying levels of accuracy in how some of those studies are presented," says Tim Parry, the charity's head of communications and public affairs.

"We wanted to put some context to what people are seeing in the news, so they get a clearer idea on what constitutes a breakthrough, or how a particular piece of research fits into the overall chain."

The new website has a large potential audience. Alzheimer's Research UK estimates that 820k people in the UK are currently living with dementia, while more than 40% of the population has a close friend or relative with the disease.

The charity already has a website offering information and resources to people with dementia and their families, with The Lab aiming to complement that rather than replace it.

"We wanted to explain the process from scientists having an idea, through to it becoming a treatment, and we wanted people to be able to move through the environment, rather than along it in a left-to-right timeline" says Parry.

"The site shows exactly what the real-world environments look like, but you're in control of how fast you move through them. We've tried to strike a balance between it being cool, interactive and pleasing to use, but not being bewildering – including for people with dementia."

Alzheimer's Research UK hired Brighton-based digital agency Tilt to design the site, working with the charity's science communications officer Laura Phipps on the project.

"Dementia is too commonly brushed under the carpet as an issue that exclusively affects the elderly, but we know it's families affected by this as much as the individuals," says Parry.

"People want to know what's going on, and take heart from the fact that research is taking place, and scientists are out there trying to do something to help them. We're very excited about the role The Lab can play in communicating this."


Popular posts from this blog

Can Dementia lead to eyesight problems

New Guidlines for Lewy Body Dementia

New drug hope for common form of dementia: review