Men’s Health Forum: Health and Wellbeing

How can user-centred information design help improve male life expectancy?

Men in the UK are disproportionately affected by a wide range of health conditions: cancer, circulatory diseases, alcoholism, suicide… the list goes on.

The role of information

In response to this situation, the Men’s Health Forum (MHF) – a charity working to improving the health and wellbeing of men – initiated a project to explore the role that targeted information provision plays in driving this statistic.

Broad-based collaboration

The project galvanised a broad-based collaboration between the Centre for Men’s Health at Leeds Metropolitan University (LMU), our team and MHF’s inter-disciplinary advisory group.

A user-centred approach

Building on extensive research carried out by the LMU team, our team engaged 4 distinct male segments in a series of co-design sessions to deepen insight and develop early prototypes for more effective information design systems. A subsequent layer of research with commissioners and stakeholders at Clinical Commissioning Groups, Local Government departments and PCTs allowed us the better understand how the the end-user insight could be used to drive the design of commercially viable products and services. 

Sustainable innovation

As a result of the process outlined above we were able to advise MHF in relation to both their short- and long-term commercial goals. A system was produced to guide development of current and future information materials, allowing the consistency and cohesion required to build relationships, alongside the flexibility to respond to the needs of the specific segments. Crucially, the system facilitated the development of evidence-based communications without the need for costly primary research for each project. At a more strategic level, we developed recommendations relevant at an organisational level, pointing MHF towards new product development opportunities and the creation of a more sustainable business model.

From recommendations to delivery

Building on the rich insight and strategic development outlined above we went on to write and produce a comprehensive behaviour change tool kit as a product aimed specifically at agencies who seek to communicate with men around health issues. A series of information materials was also produced based on lifestages rather than specific health issues. This left the Forum with a sustainable foundation on which to develop a wide range of further materials and promote the development of evidence-based behaviour change interventions amongst their clients and stakeholders. 

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