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"Plånkan" is an aid for people with intellectual disabilityintellectual functional variation

Published: 20 May 2021

From 20 May to 5 June, the Graphic Design degree exhibition will take place at Kulturens hus in Luleå. One of the exhibitors is Isac Elmehög.
– My project is about how money can become more understandable for people with intellectual disabilities.

Isac Elmehög has developed the app "Plånkan" - a cognitive aid that visualizes how much money the user has instead of entering the sum in numbers. You can choose visualization based on your personal preferences, such as pictures of money or a horizontal meter that shows the total amount of money. 

In the Bachelor of Arts Programme in Graphic Design at Luleå University of Technology, students work a lot with norm-critical perspectives: How can graphic design be used to challenge norms in society and make it more democratic? With norm criticism as a starting point, Isac Elmehög used his own experiences when developing the idea for his degree project.

Mom inspired

– My mother works at a home for people with disabilities. During my upbringing, I have met many of the them when they have visited our home. My partner also has experience of similar jobs.

Through his mother and his partner, he has understood that some people with intellectual disabilites have difficulty understanding how virtual cash works. He deepened his knowledge by taking part in research in the field. In the next phase, he conducted a benchmarking survey by mapping which aids are already on the market. He then developed a prototype which was then tested on staff and the target group.

– Through the tests, I realized that I have to use fewer metaphors and a more structured design with fewer impressions and clearer separation between functions.

Isac Elmehög sat down at the drawing board again. The idea is that the app that he now presents at the exhibition should be able to replace or be included in regular banking services.

Artistic talent not necessary

In high school, Isac Elmehög studied music and as a child he liked to draw. It was against that background that a study counselor told him about the Bachelor of Arts Programme in Graphic Design. He is very happy with the programme. He wants to emphasize that you do not have to be an artistic talent to pass it.

– No extensive background knowledge is required to complete the education. But once you have been accepted, there is a very high level of teaching. I think you should like communication to enjoy the education, because design is very much about communication, says Isac Elmehög.