Albert Einstein once said, the only source of knowledge is experience. I have learned the value of experience and how it plays a huge role in the outcome of design. How do we experience what we are designing for or furthermore how do we design for what we have experienced? It is my experience that in times of change throughout our lives it is best to stay organized. While expecting my first child, I was fortunate to have access to mobile apps, books, online resources, and multiple medical facilities. For women going through pregnancy without access to such resources, the journey may be an unstructured and even chaotic experience. This simple yet complex idea to stay organized became the key component to the Well Baby Toolkit.

materialsAs the researcher interviewing community caregivers in their clinics, a substantial amount of information was collected in the form of brochures, handouts and even sponsored materials. As a patient, women receive overwhelming amounts of information from such clinics. It becomes hard to decipher what information is important. It became overwhelming when trying to identify the main components each clinic was working to educate visitors about. The materials collected ranged from pain management during labor to the proper installation of a car seat.  The caregivers each had different ideas of what they found important which in turn made the process of identifying the essential information more difficult. On average one research location was capable of distributing designed educational materials to thousands of women a year. When realizing the volume of patients it was clear that something needed to be done to organize and make the process easier for patients to absorb.

A major concern that the community clients had were the costs to their facility to produce and distribute new materials designed through this research. This concern was treated with high priority when deciding the final format to design for. If a great educational tool was created as the outcome of this project and could not distributed by the community client it would not solve the issues of overwhelming information. By design, the toolkit has been created in a way that could be mass-produced with basic office materials such as a copier and standard sized office paper.

 

“This toolkit speaks to the basic needs of pregnant women across many barriers. In a compact and easy to read design, the toolkit provides a wealth of information regarding pre and postnatal care that many women do not receive due to socioeconomic status or limited access to education.”  

-Doula and Ph.D. researcher of American Studies

gibboney_05The problems that were defined during this research became the following objectives:

• Development of Pre and Postnatal Educational Tools that are non digital and easy to share with little cost to reproduce.

• Identify graphics and language that is relevant to the target audience: pregnant women and their partners.

• Evaluate both print and electronic educational and charting systems. What are the key components for successful use of each tool and how can they be simplified into one toolkit

• Look at industry and analyze what exists and determine whats missing from Pre and Post Natal educational and information charting tools.

A user guide has been included in the table of contents area of the Well Baby Toolkit. The toolkit is currently in the process of being reviewed and utilized by Midwives and doulas, WIC, YWCA and OBGYN offices and their Expectant Mother clients.  This phase will be important to evaluate the user experience when using the toolkit and also any areas that need to be explained by a health care professional.

“They are well organized and easy to read.  What wonderful tools especially for first time parents!”

-Pre and Post natal Educational Coordinator 

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The future plans for the Well Baby Toolkit are to be shared nationally in multiple languages to create a universal conversation between expectant mothers and their caregivers. The tools developed during my MFA research will allow women without resources to monitor their pregnancy and begin the first year of their baby’s life with the best possible understanding of monitoring and preventative care.  The community clients involved in this project were able to identify with the materials presented and successfully implement the new toolkit into their daily educational instruction. These processes of research and design education have helped the community clients have a better understanding of the power of socially driven design.

Next steps: prepare to release to public for use. All charts are formatted to be placed in three ring binders by the user on letter sized paper. The final toolkit will be shared with healthcare and educational offices in color and black and white format for copies to be made and available for patients. If you are interested in reviewing the Well Baby Toolkit for use in your clinic please contact me to be added to the email list.