Public Health Wales, Falls Prevention Collaborative

A seminar and workshop to help health professionals in user centred design

A large collaborative group of senior consultants, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists met at Swalec Stadium for the sixth meeting of this sort. We were recommended to the team leaders of the collaborative group by Dr Alan Willson, Head of the Wales Centre for Quality Improvement.

We delivered a seminar and workshop on how to improve the design of patient-facing information.
 Health Care experts in the group are often faced with the frequent problem of designing their own literature on the office PC, using MS Word or Publisher. With the best of their knowledge and experience, health care professionals often take on patient information design, but feel completely out of their depth.

Often these leaflets and brochures, end up as result of years’ worth of the handing down of previous leaflets, which has been added to–both in terms of information and design–tends to be messy and ineffective for their patients. This is due to a lack of funding for the proper resources within a public funded industry.

Our seminar covered things like the basics of good information design, design principles, the importance of planning and hierarchy, some of the technical terms for print houses and most importantly – defining and knowing your target audience.

For the workshop, we introduced the use of personas, which is a common tool used in service design and something we have used successfully in data gathering and understanding the customer for recent projects. Through workshops of 10 groups from different health boards, we showed them the value of creating typical patient personas, through which they viewed a collection of leaflets and information from the patients’ perspective. This encouraged them to discover and learn about issues that effect legibility, type contrast, and the writing of content to clarify information. There was an understanding and enthusiasm to start putting these principles into practice, which was fantastic.

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