Information is no good unless people can access and use it. Not knowing how to use technology keeps people from useful health information. A lack of “technology literacy” can make it hard for people to find and follow reputable health advice online, use and make sense of connected devices, and even interact with their providers when there are tech systems involved. How can we address tech literacy to make these health resources truly available to people? Continue reading Jumping the Technology Literacy Hurdle
If you want to hear about some bad bedside manner, I highly recommend a recent episode (“Goo”) of the podcast Two Dope Queens, starring Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson. Williams found a lump in her breast and made an appointment to get an ultrasound to find out what it was. She talks about her experience with the ultrasound and subsequent biopsy, and highlights a couple of unfortunately all-too-common negative patient experiences along the way. I’d chalk these experiences up to at least two dynamics: Lack of empathy, and lack of communication. Continue reading “Narrate This Like This Is a Ken Burns Documentary”: 2 Dope Queens on Patient Care
After I posted about seemingly obvious information not necessarily being obvious to the people we design for, someone reached out to me on Twitter to challenge my points. We went back and forth for a bit, disagreeing on whether to design for what he called “the lowest common denominator” of user, someone who is not knowledgeable or engaged. His concern (as I interpret it) was that in targeting that type of user, we reduce the utility of anything we build for the people who might be better equipped to use it. And so I found myself wondering, does making it easy mean designing for the lowest common denominator? Continue reading Does Making It Easy Mean Designing for the Lowest Common Denominator?
Want someone to quit tobacco? Chances are your persuasive tactics to get them to stop smoking will include some cold hard facts about the damage that cigarettes can cause to your lungs and heart. Maybe you’ll use some photos that show the aging effects of smoking on skin and teeth. Or perhaps you can share statistics around the rates of disease for people who smoke compared to people who don’t. These approaches may make intuitive sense, but they rarely work to get someone to quit smoking. Knowledge alone doesn’t change behavior. Continue reading The Diminishing Returns of Education for Health Behavior Change
Last week I had the opportunity to speak at the EBSCO User Group, which was such a treat. In addition to the fact that I like to nerd out with people about motivational design, I was pleased to get to hear a few other talks that sparked new ideas for me. One was from Debra Kolah of Rice University’s Fondren Library, whose efforts to redesign the library website with user insights have resulted in a clean, easy-to-navigate resource hub. Kolah (Twitter here) reports jargon was a problem. Continue reading When Words Disrupt Relationships: Library Jargon and the Collegiate Patron
With the end of the year and final exams approaching, many students are scrambling to find ways to either boost their grades or postpone their deadlines. That means that all over the world, teachers are suddenly fielding a thick flurry of emails containing variations on a theme. If you are the grandparent of a college student, you should be very fearful for your health and indeed your life around the time of final exams. Science has shown grandmothers are a whopping 19 times more likely to die before their grandchild’s final exams (when proof of death is the grandchild’s say-so). Continue reading Teachers’ Motivation, Semester-End Excuses: A Plea to College Students
This week, the resignation letter of a special education teacher in Florida has gone viral online. Through my friends and relatives who are teachers, and eventually others who read the letter and were moved to share it, I’ve seen it many times in my social network feeds in the last few days. Wendy Bradshaw, Ph.D., decided to resign her teaching post after giving birth and realizing that she felt a sense of dread thinking about her new daughter attending the schools in which she teachers. In her letter, she writes: Continue reading Wendy Bradshaw’s Resignation: In the Absence of Competence Support