Mobile devices Parkinson's

Going Mobile

In the beginning I was fascinated by the idea of using your phone for everything. Moving to the care home made it a necessity and an ideal opportunity to do a proof of concept.

With my son Roland’s help we hooked up a HDMI cable to the tv’s monitor. With my Bluetooth keyboard and mouse I was ready to start using Dex! I was quite excited to see the Dex home screen on the monitor.

Working on the chest of drawers was not ideal but that is what the short HDMI cable allowed. It was clear a more long term solution was needed, a desk?

On my lap

While I was investigation options for a desk of some sort – not so obvious when one is a care home with only a wheelchair as transport 🙂 – I simply used my phone on my lap. That worked reasonably OK. I put a book on my lap to form a work surface.

That led me to investigate wheelchair accessories. There are many wheelchair trays available but one has to try them out first. I also want to see how I can use the wheelchair for video shoots.

Parkinson’s Problems

Small Size
When I first considered using a phone, Parkinson’s was not yet an issue. Now I find the small screen difficult. Objects and menu items were just small. Fortunately the Galaxy Note 9 is a rather big phone.

Galaxy Note 9

The included s-pen is very useful for selecting items onscreen. I also bought a packet of stylii from Amazon and they also work very well.

Smartphone stylus

The small size of items on the phone screen was solved relatively easily. The shaky hands causes mistyping, moving items too far and choosing incorrect menu options.

I think that with some training/exercise I will be able to improve that.


Design Issues
Phone app developers also face a challenge of how to include the menus and controls in the small space and still make it user-friendly. They have come up with some novel ideas and it takes some detective work to figure it out – there are no user manuals these days. Often if you just reflect for a bit, you can figure out how they would have done it. The more you practice the better you get.

In many cases they have to use the phone in landscape mode for some of the app’s activities. Changing over can be challenging.

Overall I am having fun discovering all kinds of surprises as I investigate the mobile world. I have not yet had a chance to play with DEX much or projecting the phone to a large screen TV.

I hope to blog more about my experiences soon.