Designing for Health Education: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Visual Communication

Belinda Paulovich

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

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    Every day, patients receive health information in a number of different formats and from various sources. A consistent communication method that takes visual literacy into account has the potential to add value to the patient education process. Visuals have the benefit of making complex information accessible to various audiences and clinical populations including immigrant population groups, and those with limited native language ability, auditory impairment or deficits in information processing, attention or working memory. The visual understanding of concepts enables more effective and efficient communication with these audiences. Producing effective visual communication devices that convey complex medical phenomena is difficult. How can meaningful images be developed by clinical staff who don't have the technical skills to do so, or by designers who don't have the domain-specific knowledge to produce accurate content? Multi-disciplinary collaboration offers a solution, with an emphasis on bringing together disparate skills. Within this team, the designer functions as visual literacy expert and the health professional as clinical knowledge expert, enabling technical information to be made visible by good design. By merging knowledge bases a holistic approach to visual literacy in health communication can be achieved. This paper demonstrates that embedding the designer in the health field enables visual devices to be customised to the teaching requirements of the health professional and the learning requirements of the audience. A "one-size-fits-all" approach to the design of visual education materials is avoided. In addition, the importance of prototype testing to optimise visual learning opportunities will be explored. These factors will be discussed within the framework of a qualitative case study in a women's and children's hospital in South Australia, focusing primarily on the education of child and adolescent audiences.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationGlobal Conference, Visual Literacies
    Subtitle of host publicationExploring Critical Issues
    Number of pages12
    Publication statusPublished - 2012
    Event6th Global Conference - Oxford, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Duration: 01 Jul 2012 → …


    Conference6th Global Conference
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Period01/07/12 → …


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