Exploring design strategies to determine information needs of caregivers



Media & Communications Design


  • collaboration, health


In this paper, the authors present information needs required by caregivers in a resource-constrained community during their health-education activities with considerations to design ethics. The role of visuals and technology in facilitating health communication, the need to design “with” users and the benefits thereof are discussed.

The study adopts a service design ethos to obtain data from research conducted with the Grabouw community in the Western Cape, South Africa. Participatory and co-design workshops were organised with caregivers in the community. Due to the complex nature of healthcare services provided by caregivers, ethical considerations were factored into co-design activities. Researchers in this case adhered to relevant ethical procedures and therefore were “enkratic”, giving due consideration to the concerns of the caregivers at all times in every design engagement. This process helped in establishing desirable trust and empathy needed to facilitate the co-design activities.

Also, the study highlights design as an evolving process of engagement and how designers are becoming  increasingly  eco-centric.  It     lays  emphasis  on  designing  “with”  stakeholders  at  the grassroots  level,  which  potentially  fosters  community  participation  and  emancipation.  Thus  eco- centric design is encouraged in community engagements rather than “ego-centric” design – which is designing  “for”  users,  without  including  their  perspective.  The  authors  suggest  “co-design”  as  a process of enquiry – an alternative to determine information needs of healthcare workers in resource- constrained contexts.

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