Designing for sexual health education
Parsons School of Design: Strategic Design and Management Studio
Niharika Gupta and Weili Lo
16 weeks (Sept to Dec 2017)
Design Research, workshop facilitation, stakeholder engagement, synthesis, and concept generation.
As a leading organization in the Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) industry, our client offers all individuals a wide range of services and empowers them to make independent and informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive lives. New York City is a cultural hub and one in five New Yorkers is an immigrant. In 2015, 23 percent of the state’s population comprised of immigrants who are foreign-born individuals. While serving a diverse immigrant population and with the recent political climate, there presents an opportunity to understand the broad challenges of education and accessibility that might be barriers for immigrants who are in need of SRH education and services.
As part of a multidisciplinary studio course that is offered for graduate degree students in the Strategic Design and Management program at Parsons School of Design, students have the opportunity to engage with a client over a period of four months through a design challenge.
“We have noticed a decline in immigrant communities visiting our healthcare centers. How can we engage communities so that they feel comfortable and safe when accessing our services?”
We approached this through the following stages:
1. Understanding the needs and experiences of immigrants who are in need of SRH education and services through in-depth interviews, focus group discussions at barbershops, card sorting activities, experiential learning, and expert interviews with healthcare professionals,
2. Synthesizing our learnings using tools such as affinity maps, empathy maps, personas, and journey maps
3. Our key insights informed us framing our challenge of "How Might We create engaging and accessible resources that can help teenagers, young adults, and partners make informed decisions about their sexual health?"
4. Generating ideas based on our defined problem and design principles and bringing our ideas to life by creating prototypes and testing them with people
5. Developing a business case for how our client and solution
Findings & Opportunities
Through this process, we reframed our design challenge to explore how might we create engaging and relevant resources that can help teenagers, young adults, and parents from diverse socioeconomic back- grounds make informed decisions about their sexual health. By understanding how communities best learn about this subject and conducting interviews with individuals at barbershops, laundromats, schools, and public spaces, we discovered an opportunity to create content that helps immigrant communities navigate their sexual health education in an American context.
Choices is an interactive video series of short videos based on the lives of immigrant communities that provides sexual health education and supports individuals to build their confidence by making informed decisions.
We noticed that individuals learn more about American culture, norms, and their sexual health education through our interactive videos than through traditional resources such as pamphlets and