This project focused on user-centred design and the design process, in order to aid decision making. The brief surrounded finding a 'problem' for a specific user group, which could be solved by an outcome containing data visualisations created from raw data. The brief was very open, and the deliverables were to be determined by the chosen problem, ensuring their suitability as a solution. This made the project feel different from others completed, as they tended to have specific set outcomes, and also made the deliverables feel more user-focused than other projects.
Stage 1: Finding and researching the problem
Identifying the initial problem was perhaps the most challenging part of this brief, as it was completely open to any theme or context. I wanted to aim my project at a vulnerable user group / population, and initially thought about aiming it at children. My first ideas included: 'Young children spend too much time on smart devices', 'Boys in school do not learn about the menstrual cycle', and 'Children are not learning about life skills, such as bills and taxes'. However, it was important to identify a problem with a vast array of relevant statistics, as well as something that could have a big impact on people's lives. Eventually, I decided to focus on First Aid, as UK children typically do not learn First Aid in schools.
However, through research, it became apparent that it was important to heavily target parents of young children, as only '5% of adults have the skills and confidence to provide First Aid in emergency situations' (Red Cross, 2018). Young children are particularly vulnernable to accidental injuries, with an average of 55 dying each year between 2012 and 2016 from accidents (Public Health England, 2016).
Once the problem was identified, research commenced to find supporting statistics and data which demonstrated the problem, which could be used to highlight the importance of First Aid.
From research, the problem and users were fully identified. The solution would be aimed at parents with children aged 0-4, and this age group is at the most risk, as well as children aged 4-8. This is because studies show that children aged 4–5 are able to learn and apply basic first aid, while 6–7 year olds can give first aid to an unconscious patient (Red Cross, 2015). Specifically, the solution would target users in poorer areas within Yorkshire and the Humber and the North West, as they have the highest child death rates due to accidental injuries in 2006–08 (makingthelink.net, 2012). High regional disparity is apparent in the death rate from accidents across the UK: 1.9 out of 100,000 children die from accidents in the home from high income families, compared to 25.4 out of 100,000 from families facing long term unemployment (Boseley, 2008).
In order to ensure the solution was suitable for the target audience, 5 criteria were identified which would allow for the final solution to spread awareness as well as to teach people First Aid skills.
1. Integrating awareness of the issue, as well as educating people about how to treat common accidental injuries
2. Integrating both parents and children, to allow for an interactive dual learning experience
3. Being interactive and engaging for children, combining potential life saving education with fun activities
4. Be usable outside the school curriculum – as schools may struggle to find time to cover all relevant material
5. Be accessible to poorer families – therefore the costs and method of consumption need to be considered
Stage 2: Designing
The design phase started by grouping the different statistics by category, as well as mapping different ideas for potential solutions. This ensured that the solutions had a clear tie in to the important statistics that needed to be portrayed to the target audience. User personas were also developed to consider the needs of the two main user groups.
Potential solutions included ideas for an awareness campaign, First Aid posters providing instructions for treating common injuries, a First Aid App with quizzes and games, as well as a First Aid course for children which would take place at school. However, these ideas were problematic for many reasons. The app requires the family to have a smartphone or tablet, as well as relies on the user locating and using the app. Instructional posters already exist, and questions surrounding how these would be distributed to users remains unclear. As well as this, an awareness campaign, which encourages users to sign up to a First Aid course is unsuitable for children, and courses may cost money which may mean they are inaccessible for my user group.
Key data was also sketched for data visualisations, exploring different data types, composition and style. As the target audience for the data is families in poorer regions, including children, bar, pie charts, as well icon arrays were chosen, as these are easy to interpret and can be emotive in their approach. These then began to be digitised for use in the final solution.
Stage 3: The Solution
The final proposed solution is an Educational First Aid kit. This would be a non-profit scheme, and provided to children through schools to be completed over the summer. The kit contains two booklets: one which contains the shocking statistics and data visualisations, to persuade parents to help their child complete the activities. The second contains how to prevent and treat common injuries. Other things in this kit include an Activity book for children, containing activities which surround first aid practice, as well as role playing cards, stickers, and role playing items to aid learning.
However, it was determined to keep the cost down, that any role playing items that could not actually be used to treat an accident, would be swapped for information cards which contained a fact about injuries.
All these materials would be contained within a corrugated cardboard first aid kit. This would come as a pre-cut net, which could be constructed by the child. This activity helps engage the child straight away, as well as vastly reducing the costs, meaning that the kit could be accessible to more children. Keeping the costs low was particularly important to ensure the viability of this solution on a large scale.
The booklets are objectively the most important part of the kit, as these both spread awareness and treat common causes of injury. They have been designed at A6 in format, in the aim that they can be carried around to use in an emergency. This also reduces the size the First Aid kit needs to be.
This project was rewarding, as it felt like it had the potential to really make a difference. Understanding the importance of First Aid is important for everyone, as accidents happen on a daily basis. Before starting this project, I did not realise how badly the UK performs in First Aid education compared to other places in the EU, as well as the regional disparities of the problem. Working from start to finish in a user-centred design process also highlighted the importance of each step in order to create a user-focused, viable solution.