Masters Profile / by DHW Lab

Eden Short has undertaken her masters degree looking at the wayfinding and user experience of the starship outpatients clinic.

Navigating through healthcare: How a design-led approach may provide a more empathetic hospital outpatient experience.

This project explores how a design-led approach can be used to improve the patient and supporter experience within Auckland City Hospital. Whilst addressing physical wellness, hospitals overlook the high stress, anxiety and uncertainty that come with this particular environment. As healthcare moves towards increased outpatient appointment-based treatments, there is a gap in knowledge of what defines a satisfactory experience and supportive environment beyond shorter wait times, and modern furnishing. However it is agreed upon that good first impressions are vital, and wayfinding being the first encounter used to find the appointment location is a large part of this. In terms of communication design, and wayfinding large amounts of unstructured information are often presented at one time which can overwhelm users, hinder communication and create a negative emotional toll.

This research focuses on children and their families encountering the Starship Children’s Hospital Outpatient’s department as a prototyping area for which probes may be created to better understand users in this context.  Thus providing input into proposed design solutions. Placing patients and their families at the centre of the design process, there is a focus on developing a supportive wayfinding experience relative to the unique demands of a hospital context. Highlighted within this wayfinding approach is how creating empathetic information channels could not only navigate patients and families physically through the environment, but also emotionally through their health-seeking journey.

The images seen here are of Eden's live prototype wayfinding system installed in the starship outpatient clinic. The summary of her thesis will involve reviewing her design against her research framework and the feedback she receives through a qualitative research investigation.

shorteden.com

shorteden@gmail.com