HUMAN CENTERED DESIGN  |  UX RESEARCH & SYNTHESIS

Chosen for the Changemakers Series, an AIGA Seattle initiative where creative teams solve current challenges faced by local non-profits.

Chosen for the Changemakers Series, an AIGA Seattle initiative where creative teams solve current challenges faced by local non-profits.

Chosen for the Changemakers Series, an AIGA Seattle initiative where creative teams solve current challenges faced by local non-profits.

Chosen for the Changemakers Series, an AIGA Seattle initiative where creative teams solve current challenges faced by local non-profits.

Chosen for the Changemakers Series, an AIGA Seattle initiative where creative teams solve current challenges faced by local non-profits.

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TEAM PHOTO
CHANGEMAKERS REMOTE WORKSHOP
THE CHANGEMAKERS SERIES 

I had the incredible opportunity to join The Changemakers series, a four-month program organized by AIGA Seattle that utilizes the power of design thinking to address issues faced by non-profits in our community.

My team focused on a challenge from by Perinatal Support Washington (PS-WA), a statewide non-profit committed to raising awareness around perinatal mental health. Over the course of the program, my team worked closely with PS-WA to understand their organization and problems they faced.

THE CHALLENGE AT HAND 

PS-WA posed this challenge:
“How might we enhance our understanding of our two distinct populations, expecting/new parents and healthcare providers, to better communicate with and engage them in our services?”
Despite their impactful work, they needed ways to broaden their reach. Our objective was to understand their audiences, identify gaps, and develop an easy to implement solution that would amplify their mission and boost engagement.
PS-WA posed this challenge:
“How might we enhance our understanding of our two distinct populations, expecting/new parents and healthcare providers, to better communicate with and engage them in our services?”
Despite their impactful work, they needed ways to broaden their reach. Our objective was to understand their audiences, identify gaps, and develop an easy to implement solution that would amplify their mission and boost engagement.
PS-WA posed this challenge:
“How might we enhance our understanding of our two distinct populations, expecting/new parents and healthcare providers, to better communicate with and engage them in our services?”
Despite their impactful work, they needed ways to broaden their reach. Our objective was to understand their audiences, identify gaps, and develop an easy to implement solution that would amplify their mission and boost engagement.
PS-WA posed this challenge:
“How might we enhance our understanding of our two distinct populations, expecting/new parents and healthcare providers, to better communicate with and engage them in our services?”
Despite their impactful work, they needed ways to broaden their reach. Our objective was to understand their audiences, identify gaps, and develop an easy to implement solution that would amplify their mission and boost engagement.

ROLE

Design, UX Research Synthesis

CLIENT

Perinatal Support Washington (PS-WA)

During pregnancy and postpartum, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men experience a significant mood disorder such as depression or anxiety.

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women 

men

MAPPING THE LANDSCAPE

To begin to tackle this challenge, we conducted a discovery workshop with the PS-WA team facilitating ecosystem mapping, empathy mapping, and persona development to understand their core audiences and the challenges faced by each group. 

These exercises revealed that beyond just "parents" and "providers", there were diverse subgroups (e.g. Spanish-speakers, Medicaid recipients) with unique needs that required an equity-focused approach. This phase was instrumental in identifying opportunities for more impactful engagement.

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ECOSYSTEM MAPPING
ECOSYSTEM MAPPING

This activity was used to identify the various components of their organization, their interactions with key audiences, and gaps in services and outreach efforts.

EMPATHY MAPPING

Through empathy mapping exercises, we gained a deeper understanding of the motivators, anxieties, and challenges faced by different types of care-seekers.

PERSONAS

This prompted the creation of personas allowing us to gain a clearer vision of the behaviors and problems encountered by the various audience groups.

SYNTHESIZING INSIGHTS AND FINDING OPPORTUNITIES

Using an “L-I-O-I” (Learnings, Insights, Opportunities, and Ideas) framework, we translated our findings into potential solutions. This method visualizes research insignts and exposes opportunites in them. Recurring themes emerged, such as the link between child and maternal health, barriers like stigma and time commitments, and the sense of isolation. The more connections we saw, the more important that idea became, guiding our action plan.

Using an “L-I-O-I” (Learnings, Insights, Opportunities, and Ideas) framework, we translated our findings into potential solutions. This method visualizes research insignts and exposes opportunites in them. Recurring themes emerged, such as the link between child and maternal health, barriers like stigma and time commitments, and the sense of isolation. The more connections we saw, the more important that idea became, guiding our action plan.

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NARROWING THE FOCUS

To prioritize our efforts, we generated secondary "How might we..." (HMW) statements, focusing on groups with barriers to care access. Ultimately, we narrowed it to three key areas, targeting the hardest-to-reach groups:

Spanish-Speaking Care Seekers

How might we improve communication to increase awareness of culturally-responsive resources?

Primary Care Doctors

How might we position PS-WA as a credible resource and care partner?

Care Seekers on Medicaid

How might we capture the low income care seeker's journey to better understand their experience?

VALIDATING ASSUMPTIONS THROUGH RESEARCH
VALIDATING ASSUMPTIONS THROUGH RESEARCH

We designed a comprehensive research plan to understand these groups better. Through in-depth interviews we gathered valuable insights of their experiences and needs, conducting 17 interviews and receiving 16 survey responses. Additionally, we analyzed web analytics to understand interactions with the PS-WA's website.

RESEARCH METHODS PLAN
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PHONE INTERVIEWS

TARGETED SURVEYS

WEBTSITE ANALYTICS

From powerful stories of struggle and misdiagnosis to inspiring accounts of resilience, each conversation added a layer of richness to our understanding of perinatal mental health. While every person we spoke with emphasized the value of PS-WA's services, they also shed light on the challenges faced during their care journey. 

This research formed the foundation for our design decisions, ensuring that our solutions were user-centric and empathetic.

QUOTES WE HEARD FROM INTERVIEWEES

“They say your second child is supposed to be easier, but for me that couldn’t be farther from the truth.”

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“I knew I really needed to find someone but it seemed like everyone my doctors recommended wasn't available - it made things feel worse and made me feel more alone”

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“They had the resources and they connected those to me when I was ready for it. They didn’t just hand out all the resources when I didn’t need it.”

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MAPPING THE WAY FORWARD

Armed with rich insights and an "idea bank" of potential solutions we needed to prioritize. I conducted an impact/effort matrix exercise with our PS-WA partners, evaluating feasibility against their priorities.

A clear need emerged - to enhance PS-WA's messaging in a way that resonated with and motivated care seekers to take action.

IMPACT/EFFORT MATRIX

“If you don’t know how to identify your feelings, you don’t know how or when to ask for help” 

CRAFTING COMPELLING NARRATIVES

We organized a co-design workshop inviting previous interviewees to dive deeper into their personal journeys - the highs, lows, and care provider touch points along the way. While every story was unique, common themes emerged:

  • A struggle to recognize they needed help, followed by a sense of urgency once they did
  • Uncertainty about where to start and a tendency to give up easily
  • Feeling alone and unsupported, often with experiences being dismissed or minimized

Together we crafted messaging, grounded in plain and reassuring language, promising support and accessibility. Things we learned during this co-design session became part of a much larger, data-driven marketing and communications strategy.

CODESIGN WORKSHOP PARTICIPANT
CODESIGN WORKSHOP PARTICIPANT
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“You don’t need to be in bed all day to deserve help. You just need to ask.”

OTHER MESSAGING

“Getting help, in order to be present, is another way to feed your child.” 

“We all get dealt a different hand. And people can help you play the cards.”

DESIGN SOLUTIONS

Through our research and collaborative efforts, we delivered a set of design solutions and strategies aimed at enhancing PS-WA's outreach efforts. We prioritized user-centered design principles, ensuring that our solutions were grounded in empathy and addressed the real needs of PS-WA's audiences. 

DELIVERABLES BREAKDOWN
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I designed, organized and input our research methods, learnings, and prioritized recommendations in a clean, comprehensive RESEARCH SYNTHESIS DOCUMENT.

I designed, organized and input our research methods, learnings, and prioritized recommendations in a clean, comprehensive RESEARCH SYNTHESIS DOCUMENT.

I designed, organized and input our research methods, learnings, and prioritized recommendations in a clean, comprehensive RESEARCH SYNTHESIS DOCUMENT.

Five AUDIENCE PERSONAS representing diverse audience segments, synthesized from our interviews and research, to assist in user-focused decision-making and tailored marketing efforts.

Five AUDIENCE PERSONAS representing diverse audience segments, synthesized from our interviews and research, to assist in user-focused decision-making and tailored marketing efforts.

Five AUDIENCE PERSONAS representing diverse audience segments, synthesized from our interviews and research, to assist in user-focused decision-making and tailored marketing efforts.

analytics

Along with the marketing designer, I art directed and designed a VISUAL IDENTITY GUIDE outlining their brand attributes, messaging frameworks, and marketing templates. This included guidelines for social media posting, fundraising efforts, and overall brand positioning.

Along with the marketing designer, I art directed and designed a VISUAL IDENTITY GUIDE outlining their brand attributes, messaging frameworks, and marketing templates. This included guidelines for social media posting, fundraising efforts, and overall brand positioning.

Along with the marketing designer, I art directed and designed a VISUAL IDENTITY GUIDE outlining their brand attributes, messaging frameworks, and marketing templates. This included guidelines for social media posting, fundraising efforts, and overall brand positioning.

MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY plan, consisting of a Data Studio analytics dashboard to offer valuable insights into audience interaction. It empowers PS-WA to pinpoint areas for improvement and understand user behavior more effectively.

MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY plan, consisting of a Data Studio analytics dashboard to offer valuable insights into audience interaction. It empowers PS-WA to pinpoint areas for improvement and understand user behavior more effectively.

MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY plan, consisting of a Data Studio analytics dashboard to offer valuable insights into audience interaction. It empowers PS-WA to pinpoint areas for improvement and understand user behavior more effectively.

AMPLIFYING THE VOICES OF OUR KEY AUDIENCE

To conclude our engagement with the Changemakers, all teams presented their work at a showcase. One of my primary goals in designing this presentation was to ensure that the heartfelt stories and journeys of the care seekers we interviewed took center stage. By allowing them to tell their own stories with slides adding visual impact to their words, we could amplify their voices and create an emotional connection with the audience. 

FINAL TEAM PRESENTATION VIDEO
FINAL TEAM PRESENTATION VIDEO
FINAL TEAM PRESENTATION VIDEO

Note: Video should auotmatically start around 1:20:00

Note: Video should auotmatically start around 1:20:00

Note: Video should auotmatically start around 1:20:00

Note: Video should auotmatically start around 1:20:00

IMPACT | RESULTS

By understanding PS-WA's audiences and co-creating solutions, we developed a comprehensive strategy to enhance their reach while equipping them with a deeper understanding of their audiences and a framework for continuous learning. 

Testimonials and feedback from PS-WA's stakeholders and interviewees highlighted our contributions value, reinforcing that, while the work is ongoing, the foundation laid will continue to support PS-WA's mission of supporting perinatal families across Washington.

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FEEDBACK SCREENSHOTS

TAKEAWAYS, LEARNINGS (PERSONAL REFLECTION)

It was incredibly rewarding to know that our efforts could ease someone's journey through a challenging period of their life. Interviewing care seekers and hearing their stories with candor and vulnerability reminded me of the profound impact design can have on people's lives, and the responsibility we hold as designers to create empathetic, inclusive solutions that uplift communities. Truly understanding our users' needs before attempting to solve their problems roots our design choices in reality and creates the potential to drive meaningful impact.

CONCLUSION

The Changemakers Series was more than just a design project; it was an opportunity to make a tangible difference in the community and service an important cause.

I was grateful to work alongside such a dedicated team, collaborating to create solutions that were richer and more user focused to empower families, amplify unheard voices, and help to destigmatize perinatal mental health. The lessons learned will continue to shape my approach as a designer, ensuring that I prioritize empathy, user-centeredness, and the power of storytelling.

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TEAM

AIGA Seattle Sponsor
Perinatal Support Washington Client/Partner
Christine Perlick Project Manager
April DiMartile Design
Linh Tran Design
Sierra Houk Marketing Design
Hannah Rudin UX Research
Nathan Olson UX Strategy

More work 

Based in Seattle, WA exploring the endless rows of trees.

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© APRIL DIMARTILE 2024