HUMAN CENTERED DESIGN SERVICES
What is human-centered design?
Research Jam uses human-centered design methods to engage patients, community members, care providers, researchers and other stakeholders to understand and solve problems related to health and wellness. We consider ourselves part of the patient engagement umbrella but we use human-centered design methods and engage more than just patients.
Human-centered design focuses on designing products and services collaboratively with stakeholders who will interact with these products and services.
It utilizes abductive reasoning, emphasizing the importance of finding new opportunities and exploring what could be. It also emphasizes a holistic view, considering the context of the challenge being explored. Its key practices are building empathy, thinking by doing, making things visual, combining divergent and convergent approaches, and collaboration (Haasi & Laakso 2011). Methods used in human-centered design engage these key practices, facilitating collaboration among stakeholders and empowering non-designers to become co-designers in what we call Jams. Click to watch a short video about Research Jam.
What is a jam?
A Jam is a series of activities that empower people to express their thoughts and ideas through what they say, make, and do. These could be group jams virtually or in-person, or individual work such as a journal or workbook.
SO, IT’S NOT FOCUS GROUP?
Not in the standard sense. A focus group is very useful for getting explicit knowledge, or things people know and can easily communicate. We use generative techniques to get at deeper knowledge—things people don’t know exactly how to talk about, or even things people don’t know that they know.
Who do you work with?
Research Jam has worked with a wide variety of clients, ranging from surgeons, urologists, nurses, health coalitions, and even state agencies and non-profits. However, our typical clients fall into one of two categories:
- Not a lot of resources, such as staff or budget
- Not much patient-engagement experience
- Not totally familiar with all research processes and tasks
- Possibly refining their research question and objectives
- Has ample resources, such as staff and budget
- Has a focused research question and access to desired participants
- Possibly has prior patient-engagement experience
- Project has complex elements, such as time or participants
- Needs to ensure collaboration with larger project team is successful
Research Jam’s process consists of five phases. Explore them below.
The first step to working with Research Jam is to get to know each other, your research topic, and what you hope to accomplish by engaging people in your research. To make sure our approach is a good fit for your goals, you’ll fill out an intake survey and have a discovery meeting with the team. After this we’ll be better able to see how we can help you. We’ll help with grant applications, create a study plan, and work with the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for our part of your study.
Once your project is funded and ready to go, we’ll begin preparing for your Jam. We design activities and tools to uncover insights in the form of group sessions held in-person or virtually, or work done individually, either online or with workbooks or kits distributed to the participants. We’re always exploring new ways to engage participants.
Recruitment is often the most difficult part of this phase and we can provide guidance and materials to help you. After recruitment is finished, we will coordinate with participants to get them to the Jam and deliver any materials they need to them. During this time, we’ll also develop and refine the session agenda and any materials needed to for the Jam.
Toolkit components ready for assembly
Putting together workbooks
This is where the fun really happens! We facilitate an engagement with your chosen population to explore the topic you’re studying. Our Jams are generative events, meaning that we use human-centered design methods to get people to generate and share perspectives and ideas. Jams often include activities such as prototyping, collaging, storytelling, or game play to help participants think creatively and explore deep thoughts and feelings.
An interactive exhibit to gather stories about health from visitors.
Group collage activity
A board game to encourage children to share stories about their liver condition and liver transplant.
Public installation to gather feedback on poster prototypes.
Our qualitative analysis and synthesis process is highly collaborative. We work together in the same room (or virtual room) for much of the process. During analysis, we explore the current—the “what is”—from the Jam participants’ perspectives. During synthesis, we look to the future and at “what could be.” Through both steps, we immerse ourselves into the data to discover patterns, gain knowledge, create meaning, and begin to envision new solutions.
Team members engaging in affinity diagramming.
An early visual modeling example.
During this phase we apply what was learned in analysis and synthesis to the development of project deliverables. Deliverables can range from a report and figures outlining our work and findings, ideas for future research, prototypes or final versions of health-related interventions, print or digital communications, and other solutions. Our team is made up of creative makers with experience developing and creating visual and written communications materials for print and digital formats. We also offer visual communication design services for projects that don’t require stakeholder engagement but need a professional designer.
We worked with Asian and Latina women to design a print piece explaining the Komen Tissue Bank donation process and encourage greater participation of women in these two populations.
We worked with families of children with Ureteropelvic junction obstruction to create the content for a video to explain a randomized controlled trial of two surgical methods for UPJ obstruction in children.