User Centered Design for Audiences with Limited Literacy Skills: An Introduction to Research and Testing Methods for Print and Online Materials

Xanthi Scrimgeour, MHEd, MCHES

Xanthi Scrimgeour, MHEd, MCHES

Xanthi Scrimgeour, MHEd, MCHES & Stacy Robison, MHEd, MCHES, CommunicateHealth, Inc.

Xanthi Scrimgeour and Stacy Robison facilitated a pre-conference workshop titled, “User Centered Design for Audiences with Limited Literacy Skills:  An Introduction to Research and Testing Methods for Print and Online Materials.”

The definition of User Centered Design (UCD) was provided as “Involving end-users (your audience) in the design and development of a product, message, or campaign.”

Stacy Robison, MHEd, MCHES

Stacy Robison, MHEd, MCHES

The workshop focused on the following:

  • Steps to the User Centered Design process (Co-creation, Participatory design)
  • Methods in getting to know your audience (or clients) in order to involve them in serving as “co-creators” in designing key marketing tools to be used by actual clients
  • Methods to conduct user research and organizing information gathered
  • Testing Methods for getting feedback from your target audiences
  • How to involve participants with limited literacy
  • Ways to save time and money on user research and testing

The facilitators provided 5 reasons to involve your actual “audience” as part of the co-creation/participatory design:

  • Just because you think your material is awesome doesn’t mean that your audience has the same opinion.
  • You can waste a lot of time and money developing materials and products that your actual audience will not use.
  • Involving your current audience will allow you to assess whether or not your messages will be understood.
  • Target audience members will be empowered and invested in the success of your product.
  • It will make you a better communicator.

Both facilitators discussed the importance of talking directly to your audience (client, patient, etc.) to create “personas.”  Personas are created based on a mix of people.  It is based on actual research with your audience to prevent the persona from being a “stereotype” – and not necessarily related to people.  One can achieve creating this step by performing focus groups, one on one client interviews, collage exercises, etc.  It is important to also create a specialized group of individuals (recruits) to develop personas.

Our facilitators engaged attendees of the session in interactive exercises to further describe and understand the value of creating personas.