Leveraging the power of empathy to co-create digital solutions that connect user needs with client goals

Our approach to human-centered design is grounded in research, yet intended to foster creativity, out-of-the-box thinking, and as many touchpoints as possible with users across the project lifecycle. The primary goal is to co-create innovative digital solutions for users, with users.

The foundational element of our process is setting aside our own assumptions as researchers and communication professionals. Doing this enables us to fully focus on understanding the perspectives, experiences, and needs of the people a digital campaign or product is trying to reach and engage.

We begin the process by collaborating with subject matter experts on our team to understand the current context of the social challenge or human behavior. The next step involves exploratory research to both define the problem from the users’ perspectives and identify potential opportunities to solve that problem. From this point on, we focus on iterative co-creation, rapid ideation and prototyping, and user testing.

Collaborating with health care providers to test communications materials

Project Highlight

Co-Creating and Testing Communication Materials with Health Care Providers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Treating for Two initiative aims to improve the health of women and babies by identifying safer treatment options for managing common conditions before and during pregnancy. To develop relevant and compelling communication products for women of reproductive age and health care professionals, we used human-centered design methods, including persona sketches, jobs-to-be-done, and virtual user testing. One of our most effective activities was conducting a co-creation workshop using journey mapping and storyboarding, which allowed health care professionals to brainstorm ideas for an educational video about prescribing medications safely during pregnancy with us, rather than react to a product we created on our own.

Communication Research

Project Highlight

Engaging New Moms Using Human-Centered Design Principles

To encourage new and expecting North Carolina parents to enroll in voluntary newborn screening, we used an interactive, formative research approach to develop our outreach and recruitment strategy. We began with a qualitative, journey mapping exercise to inform the development of draft outreach ads. We then quantitatively tested receptivity of the ad elements prior to widespread dissemination as part of the Early Check campaign.

Communications workshops include a “gallery walk” for participants to review and add comments to summaries of small group discussions.

Project Highlight

Communicating Science to the Public to Promote Informed Decisions

To support a project funded by the Food and Drug Administration, we developed a series of design workshops to explore how community members with diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds and low literacy access prescrip­tion drug safety informa­tion and how information about risks and benefits of prescrip­tion drugs could be modified to better meet their needs. The work­shops engaged participants through a series of activities, including a large group warm-up discussion, co-creation of storyboards in small groups to describe an encounter with a physician where the risks and benefits of a prescription drug were discussed, and a “gallery walk” for participants to review and add comments to summaries of small group discussions. 

Let’s work together to improve the human condition and create social impact by leveraging digital technology