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Design to connect with your audience

November 27, 2013

On this week’s evening #hcsmca, we’ll dive deeper into how design affects our online social interaction in health with our guest Pivot Design Group. Pivot Design Group creates exceptional user experiences by examining audience, organization, market and context of use. They ask questions to get a clear look at the audience and the ways in which they interact with the product or service. To set the stage, the prepared this blog post.

By Pivot Design Group (@pivoting)

pivot logoIn healthcare design & marketing, we know that defining the target audience is a critical success factor. We talk about it all the time — identifying ways to reach your audience and understanding their geography, demographics, behaviors and other factors.

But how does it become relevant? How do you connect with the audience and apply it to design?

At Pivot, we use design research to understand the key audiences as users of a product, service, or process. This helps us make informed design decisions and find ways to connect and create meaningful experiences.

Case Study

In one of Pivot’s recent projects with the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (the Partnership), we were approached to create a single webpage to live off of the website. This page would pull together the latest information on various cancer-related topics in a digest format. Through discussion, we created user profiles (or personas) to understand the needs and scenarios of use of our key audiences which included professionals in the healthcare industry, strategists and policy-makers at the government level. The Partnership’s main goal was to increase awareness and share the latest research and information by experts in a highly visual format. Given that sharing was a key goal for the project, we realized that the general public was potentially another very important user type because they, as patients and caregivers, would invariably use social media and other methods to share the information that is relevant to them thus furthering the reach of the Partnership’s content. 1in3 Cancerview blog

After reviewing the results of our discovery and design research, it was clear that instead of a single page site, a larger microsite or blog would be needed to house the monthly content. Narrowing down on a powerful name for the site — based on the alarming statistic that one in three Canadians will be affected by cancer in their lifetime — we created an identity and look and feel that speaks to the expertise and knowledge transfer that the Partnership provides, yet also lends itself to a sense of personality and trustworthiness. Knowing that many of the audience types would be specialists in a particular field, we created a tagging system for the content types (video interviews, infographics, Q&A, recommended resources, etc.) as well as a visual wayfinding colour palette for each month’s topic (Smoking Cessation is teal, HPV is blue, etc.) so that it would be easier for specific users to find content that is most relevant to them. For all audience types we redesign the data and statistical information to be highly visual and thus more informative.

We were successfully able to grow the concept of into a microsite robust enough for the Partnership to share the latest Canadian cancer evidence in the form of curated monthly content and also increase awareness for the Partnership. Our first infographic with the 1in3 site (smoking cessation) was shared on, immediately became Staff Pick, and went on to gain over 5,000 shares in a matter of days.

On the next #hcsmca chat, Wednesday November 27 at 9pm ET, let’s dive deeper into user experience, design and social innovation to connection with your audiences.

  • T1: How do you identify your audience/users? How does understanding them help inform your design?
  • T2: How can you involve your users in co-design and social innovation?

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