My name is Glory Dang.

I’m a recent grad looking to help people lead fulfilling lives through human- and community-centered design. I’m passionate about understanding why we act the way we do, getting to the root of social issues, and looking at life from a bigger picture. I’m currently a Research Fellow at Design for America, a national non-profit org.

Project Highlights
  1. Improving DFA Studio Support (coming soon)
  2. Care Home Connections
  3. Koocook Community
  4. Democracy for Climate Health

Take a closer look—
Portfolio PDF

(coming soon)
More Projects
  1. The Future of Libraries
  2. A Voice for Boston Chinatown
  3. Trader Joe’s Resilient Communities

  1. Augmented Reality Biking
  2. Amazon Alexa Lie Detector
  3. Compelling Organisms
  4. RISD Industrial Design Faculty Site Scoping Project
  5. Petfinder App Re-design

  1. Exhibit Designs
  2. Product Designs
  3. Graphic Design Gigs
  4. RISD Foundations

More about me—
I studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University focusing on Experience Design and Cognitive Sciences. I’m based in Chicago, IL and grew up in sunny San Jose, CA. I like to read, write, and make hand-bound books.

This is what I look like.

Photo of Glory, Smiling

Drop me a line!
Snail Mail, if it’s personal...

︎!      ︎︎

2. Care Home Connections

How can we encourage communication and connection between care home residents and others?


Project Management
Qualitative Research
Dual Prototyping
Concept Development
Project Co-Lead

Glory Dang
Emma Abele
Zoe Beckman
Danny Lee
Claire Lin
Shani Abass

The Problem
Dementia is a progressive nature caused by a variety of brain illnesses and affects memory, thinking, behavior, and daily abilities. Nearly 50,000 people lived with dementia in 2015, and more than 1.5 million elderly citizens live in Assisted Living homes. Yet caretaking costed a disproportionate amount of $150 billion annually. 

The Approach
This extracurricular project was conducted by a team of interdisciplinary RISD/Brown students as part of the Design for America RISD|Brown Studio. We combined primary and secondary research as well as consistent feedback with community stakeholders to create a desirable, feasible, and impactful solution.

The Solution
Care Home Connections is a digital service that connects volunteers to care home residents through mutual hobbies. This concept creates a cycle of relationship-building interactions to 1) fulfill social needs of the residents, 2) create time for nurses and caretakers, and 3) providing an intergenerational experience for volunteers. 


Community Partners

Arbor Hill Assisted Living
Wingate Residencies


        1. Assisted Living Residents
        2. Assisted Living Organizations
        3. Nurses & Caretakers
        4. Volunteers & Activists
        5. Healthcare Providers
        6. Doctors
        7. Family

Preliminary Research What engages people?
We used online research, nurse interviews, professional perspectives, and user observations to inform our initial insights.

Insight: People with dementia are attuned to creative, subjective, and social endeavors.

Music has emotional and behavorial benefits, working almost like magic in motivating people to open up and be lively. It is also linked to bringing back memories.

Wingate residents’ favorite programming was the live musicians. Everyone ends up moving and singing along to the performances.

Physical activity, including dancing, has been scientifically proven to improve brain functioning. The act of dancing is also an easy way to connect to one another.

In the UK, weekly dance therapy classes are a common bonding and exercise activity for people and families with dementia.

Visual Arts
People with dementia respond to color and other visual stimuli better than problem-solving or brain-teasing activities.
Wingate’s lower-functioning residents preferred to sort puzzles pieces by color rather than fitting them together.

Communication is difficult for those with dementia, but storytelling and conversation are especially important for their happiness and well-being.
In Interviews with Sheila and Cailin, volunteers at Wingate, they emphasized valuing the parts of the people that were still present.

Preliminary Ideation
We created a web of design criteria and brainstormed dozens of ideas spanning physical products, community-building activities, and spatial redesign. The following four concepts had the most potential.

a digital dance toy

Residents use a hi-tech LED and musical tool for collective exercise and fun
a mixed-gen garden

Elementary schools join us in building community while creating a landmark greenspace
a memory book

Families fill out a digital template as a group activity, then order a physical copy to keep and reflect on 
a sensory zen room

Residents use this space to calm down during episodes of conflict or frustration

Expert Feedback
Session 1
After getting concept feedback from our community stakeholders, we learned that our main stakeholder, Arbor Hill Assisted Living, had residents from a lower socio-economic status who did not maintain familial relations. We wouldn’t be able to conduct a test for the memory book concept without families who had relationships with dementia.

“Most residents don’t have photos or active family members, but they do like telling people stories.”

- Heather, Activities Coordinator, Arbor Hill

Pivot: We stepped back to validate our initial insights about creativity and social interactions with users. 

Empathy Workshop
As a mind-setting activity to help my team prepare for our next interactions with the care home residents, I held an Empathy Workshop.

Storytelling Workshop
Validating Assumptions
Our test session involved 11 residents at Arbor Hill Assisted Living for a 1-hour workshop in the afternoon.

The objective
Test how strongly the residents responded to music and creative storytelling, which were the two aspects from prior research that we didn’t have as much primary data for.

The means
To facilitate story generation, we prepared Category Cards, images of famous events, and a variety of artistic tools and tactile objects like Play-Doh included drawing, making, and writing.

The 2-Part Workshop Agenda
Share stories inspired by our 50’s and 60’s playlist (25 mins), then
Share stories based off of the objects and images we brought in (25 mins)

Insight: Instead of following the agenda, the residents overwhelmingly wanted to interact with is—by telling stories, talking, asking questions, and listening.

A few people followed our prompts and began writing or drawing, but the focus of the workshop quickly became interactive dialogue.

Some left the room to retrieve personal items for an impromptu show-and-tell...

... while others wanted to build a deeper individual connection.

It soon became a struggle for our team of 4 to care to the needs of each person in the workshop—they all had individual personalities and interests.

Insight: Assisted living homes cannot afford to provide more individualized attention to each resident due to both cost and time.

Each nurse and activities coordinator manages 10+ people at a time, if not the entire resident group. How else could we provide high-impact social opportunities for the care home residents?

New Goal:
How can we provide more social opportunities for the care home residents?


To ensure that we were targeting a problem that was both challenging and feasible, we presented our work to teams, did some more mindmapping, and then used numerical ranking to decide as a team on a specific problem space.

Final Expo with DFA RISD|Brown, MIT, and guest critics
Numerical Ranking Selection

The Focused Problem Space

How can we encourage communication and connection between care home residents and others?

Nurse Shadowing
Building Relationships
We had just come back from summer break, so we chose to start up the new term by shadowing the nurses to strengthen our relationship after 3 months of absence. As we’d seen, nurses were extremely busy with all aspects of caretaking.

Phase 2
Our team interest was split between two different areas relating to communication and connection.

1. How can technology create mood regulation devices for dementia residents to relieve internal conflicts?

2. How can restructuring the volunteer system for care homes lead to more opportunities for personalized social interactions?

Expert Feedback
To make sure we weren’t missing any insights that could impede testing or implementation, we pitched these concepts back to our partners. Given our partners’ enthusiasm about the new concepts, we moved forward with dual prototyping.

Head Nurse
Arbor Hill Assisted Living

“Some residents need personal human interaction... while others are fascinated with new technology.”

Head Nurse Memory Care Unit
Wingate Residencies


Dual Prototyping

Concept #1: De-Stress


An interactive smart device that relieves stress by using relaxing light and sound. Due to timing issues, we were not able to test this concept.

Concept 2: Care Home Connections

Care Home Connections

A web app that pairs volunteers with residents to socialize over personalized activities. We prioritized feasiblity, thus developed this concept because it was more accessible for prototyping and testing.

User Flow 
User Flow

User Feedback
We struggled to find a test group of volunteers to participate in a pilot, but we were still able to pitch our idea to both the nurses and residents at Arbor Hill. 

From talking to the two residents who had volunteered to participate in the pilot test, we learned that it could be a two-way exchange of sharing a learning. One of them often made hooked rugs, which uses a simple kitting technique that any volunteer participant coud have fun learning. 

Team Feedback
To wrap up the year, we presented our project findings at a second Final Expo with DFA. We collected heaps of written feedback and had the opportunity to speak with some critics in the medical industry, gaining insights about HIPAA regulations, sensitive terminology, and more.


After speaking to a entrepreneur mentor at the New England Medical Innovation Center, we realized that building the platform wasn’t the only piece to the solution—we also needed a plan to maintain the platform and account for changes over time, which meant that this would require more time and responsibility. Because our team members ultimately were graduating or shifting priorities, we chose to conclude our project. We have delivered our insights to Arbor Hill Assisted Living, and they are building community connections with local high schools at their own sustainable pace. 

From the team: Thank You!