5 questions to ask before designing your healthcare initiative
When designing your healthcare initiative, the medical and healthcare field offers a plethora of imagery from intensive mechanism of action imagery, scientific graphics, or simply patient quality of life images. The challenge is not to just determine a “pretty picture”, but first harness what is the overall goal and messaging that the “audience” needs to take away when reviewing your health education information. Below are the 5 questions that we consider essential at the beginning of the project.
Why are you initiating this piece?
Whether it is for online or print consumption, the question may seem obvious but it is paramount to understand the “why”. That will determine the goals and what exactly has been the challenges and competitive obstacles that has lead you to this point.
Who is the audience?
Take some time to identify your specific audience. Make sure to consider unique needs, environments and cultural requirements. Once you feel you fully understand the specifics of your primary audience, you can safely move on to the next question.
- Is it patient-centric?
- Is it strictly to inform primary care physicians, or other healthcare professionals that are in the forefront of identifying and directing their patients towards the “best” next course of their health maintenance?
- Is the audience investors, chemists or lab techs?
- Nurses, mental health professionals and social workers offer a very unique messaging
What is the “communication” climate that your audience lives in?
The environment in which your audience digests information and data, plays a key role in how to design and develop your health communication tools. A doctors office is an entirely different scenario than a hospital setting. A community-health event, board meeting, workshop/presentation or roundtable each offers a uniqueness to how your content needs to present itself.
What is your overall message?
The writer’s job is to develop a content development strategy to link all of the above together, but there is no reason why the designer should not be part of this equation. What exactly does your audience need to walk away with, a call-to-action (phone, email, link). Maybe it is to generate a conversation with another healthcare professional, patient, or staff member. Are you challenged by a misconception or topic within your respective audience.
If your piece is directly for patients or consumers, health literacy must play a crucial role in the format and design of your healthcare information.
How are you getting the information and data out?
Today it’s websites, web apps, social media, digital signage, presentation/kiosks, quick flyers, brochures, and PDFs. Each distribution environment will determine just how tight you package your messaging from cover-to-cover, above the fold, or in a 5 second pass.