In collaboration with Studenterrådgivningen

In collaboration with Studenterrådgivningen

Student, how are you?

Student, how are you?

Co-design/Service design/UX design

In Denmark the number of students who sought psychological assistance, in order to complete their university studies trippled over the past 5 years. Despite these rising numbers there is very little visibility about mental health related issues on campus.

‘Student, how are you?’ is a digital platform that focuses on sharing stories and experiences of study related struggles, enabling new students to exchange stories and find resources in visually engaging and informative way. Carried out in in collaboration with external parter Studenterrådgivningen (under Ministry of Science Innovation and Higher Education Denmark). 

Year  2018         Collaborators  Ingeborg Himle Matland

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Challenge

Challenge

How might we co-design a digital platform that encourages opens discussions and reflection, making it easier for students to understand or acknowledge their own struggle or seek help from friends, family or from university mental health support services?


How might we co-design a digital platform that encourages opens discussions and reflection, making it easier for students to understand or acknowledge their own struggle or seek help from friends, family or from university mental health support services?


Approach & Process

Approach + Process

When approaching the topic of mental health from a design perspective we have taken an exploratory, qualitative approach. This meant that from the outset of the project we have had a close collaboration with the intended target group (students) through multiple interviews and workshops and experts (psychologists and service providers). 


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Research synthesis

Research Synthesis

The nature of the topic being both highly individual and complex, meant that there is no single solution that would fit all student needs.  We opted to focus on developing a digital platform as one of the best ways to reach our main target group and frame the types of themes and content we and Studenterrådgivningen saw a need to develop. 

The nature of the topic being both highly individual and complex, meant that there is no single solution that would fit all student needs.  Thus we opted to focus on developing a digital platform as one of the best ways to reach our main target group and frame the types of themes and content we and Studenterrådgivningen saw a need to develop. 

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UX concept - A story sharing platform

UX concept - A story sharing platform

The digital platform takes a new angle on presenting information about student struggles and mental wellbeing: It’s about students helping students, an having the space to tell their own stories, as opposed to other existing forms of communication within the sector, that often focus on statistics or psychological definitions.

The digital platform takes a new angle on presenting information about student struggles and mental wellbeing: It’s about students helping students, an having the space to tell their own stories, as opposed to other existing forms of communication within the sector, that often focus on statistics or psychological definitions.

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UX Challenges - 'Webdoc format'

 
UX Challenges - 'Webdoc format'
 

Content is presented through different mediums - in a web doc format: short films, audio clips and editorial segments using the students own stories and co-designed visualization.

Content is presented through different mediums - in a web doc format: short films, audio clips and editorial segments using the students own stories and co-designed visualization.

UX Challenges - Informative narratives

UX Challenges - Informative narratives
 

We needed to find a way to create a through-line weaving these different storytelling media together to form a continuous narrative. We also needed to provide key information (where to go etc.),  advice from other students and proffesional counsellors into one cohesive flow.


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Visual language

Visual language

It was important to our audience that the stories did not end up being visualized as cliche portraits of someone experiencing challenges relating to their mental health .

The majority of participants have expressed that the project should reflect that these are nuanced issues but that they are also something "we all can relate to" and therefore the tone of voice should be more lighthearted and inviting in contrast to melancholic and heavy.

Key learnings

Key learnings

During this project I came to understand how important it is to think ethically about the experiences that I design in the future, especially considering when recruiting participants to work with on topics surrounding physical and mental health - dealing with personal and sensitive topics requires a certain level of flexibility in how we conduct qualitative research.

It’s also my responsibility to be critical of how we represent these issues for a public audience, and to foresee the possible impact on participants we co-design with.

 

During this project I came to understand how important it is to think ethically about the experiences that I design in the future, especially considering when recruiting participants to work with on topics surrounding physical and mental health - dealing with personal and sensitive topics requires a certain level of flexibility in how we conduct qualitative research.

It’s also my responsibility to be critical of how we represent these issues for a public audience, and to foresee the possible impact on participants we co-design with.

 

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"If I knew that when I had trouble, if I could look around the room and see that other people had problems too, that 50% are thinking this too ... Then of course I would feel better. This [digital platform] has the same effect"

- Christian, Student

 

"Some students only have maybe one counselling session, this is advice they could be getting on this platform — just the feeling that they are not alone and that other people have similar issues" 

- Melissa Benjamin Møller,
communications officer, SRG

 

Alice Moynihan  . ©  2019