Word-Search by Mahjong, recommended app for people living with dementia

Word-Search by Mahjong, recommended app for people living with dementia

Review

This app presents simple word searches in a highly accessible format. At the time of our analysis, this app achieved our highest ever rating. It contains many great design features that we consider to be dementia-friendly, such as non-distracting backgrounds, hints (with an auto-prompt), absence of adverts, and many customisation options such as colour schemes, fonts, text size and difficulty. An example of a small detail that raises the app above others in this category is that when highlighting a found word, users can miss the last letter or 'over-run' by one letter and the word will still be accepted. By requiring less precision, this avoids potentially frustrating scenarios and makes the app even more accessible.

We identified a couple of potential issues of which users should be aware. Whilst the size of the text in the word search itself can be increased, this does not apply to the word guide at the bottom of the page which remains a constant size and could be difficult to read for some users. Also, there is a timer present in the bottom right-corner, and although it does not countdown or restrict the user at all, it could be an unwelcome distraction for some.

The app is free to download and offers five categories, each containing between 28-92 words. When starting a new word search, a random selection of 12-18 words (depending on the difficulty level selected) from the chosen category will be included in a randomly generated puzzle. Therefore this free app can be enjoyed over and over again without the user encountering repeats of puzzles they have already completed. However, if a user plays often enough and becomes frustrated by the repetitiveness of the words, there is the option to purchase more categories. 

Tip: In-App Purchases do require a password before completion, but they can be completely restricted on your device, if preferred. For information on how to do this for the Apple iPad, read our step-by-step guide.


Recommended settings

WORD-SEARCH BY MAHJONG, RECOMMENDED APP FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH DEMENTIA, ALTERNATIVE PRESENTATION USING CUSTOMISATION OPTIONS

WORD-SEARCH BY MAHJONG, RECOMMENDED APP FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH DEMENTIA, ALTERNATIVE PRESENTATION USING CUSTOMISATION OPTIONS

Access the settings by tapping the wheel icon in the upper left corner of the launch screen or in-game screen. We recommend the following (in bold):

  • Font (tap arrows to select the serif font (see above image), or user preference)
  • Size (tap arrows to select the middle/third of the five options, or user preference)
  • Desktop (tap arrows to select the light blue option (see above image), or user preference)

When beginning a new puzzle, select from the three difficulty levels:

  • Easy (12 words, presented horizontally and vertically, but only forwards)
  • Medium (15 words, presented horizontally and vertically, forwards or backwards)
  • Hard (18 words, presented horizontally, vertically and diagonally, forwards and backwards)