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UC design research points the way so you won't get lost at the hospital
Date:8/6/2009

apart and simplifying?"

From beginning to end, the project is about the end users, agreed UC digital design student Paige Farwick, 22, of the Cincinnati suburb of Eastgate. She explained, "We began our project by going out and asking non-designers to do a quick, rough sketch of the specific terms we were looking at. For instance, I asked family members to sketch the first thing they thought of when I said the term 'in-patient.' They all sketched a rough outline of a hospital building. It's probably not what I would have first thought of as a designer, but it gave me great insight into how a public audience thinks of that term."

As designers, the UC students are taking their assignment further than the prescribed outlines of the project which focuses on symbols for the physical health-care setting. However, they have also opted to look at how the symbols might translate to other platforms, like the Web, printed materials such as brochures or even a nurse's call button.

It's something that Partida, in the role of project administrator/sponsor, admitted she wouldn't have thought to do.

Said UC's Fernndez, "In order for these symbols to be effective in the physical environment, it's important that users become familiar with them and see them used across platforms in the physical realm, online and in other settings. So, we made a point to look at the symbols in the totality of environments (physical and electronic) where they will likely be used."

NEXT STEPS

It's expected that refinements will be necessary to the student-created symbols after testing is completed in December 2009. The ultimate goal is to have final symbols adopted both nationally and internationally. UC students debate health-care symbols.

"One of the reasons we're working with designers, design students and healthcare settings is to encourage universal adoption of these symbols in the long term," stated Partida. To encourage adoptio
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Contact: M.B. Reilly
mary-bridget.reilly@uc.edu
513-556-1824
University of Cincinnati
Source:Eurekalert  

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