Week 5: Prototyping

First off, we in the Hub want to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving week.  We are very thankful for everyone and everything that has made the past year and a half at Sibley so wonderful.  We are truly lucky to be a part of such an amazing and caring community!     

Back to the Breast Cancer Journey front:

Sometimes, things don’t go exactly as planned.  Sometimes, a project hits that design rut or slump and can’t seem to find a way out of it.  After getting some feedback from patients about our current prototypes for the project, we didn’t feel like we were quite on the right track.  So, we paused.  If you and your end-user aren't "feeling it", there is a need to readjust course, which is what we did.

We looked at our prototypes and asked what each was trying to embody: a feeling of being in control, being able to learn about the process, and learning about the illness.  These were slightly different than the original design principles, but they spoke directly to what each prototype aimed to do and to the desires we heard in our interviews. 

Thus, we faced our next difficult question.  How might we create something that embodies these principles while bringing them all together?  So we did something that we don’t do very often, we thought inside the box, literally.  We created a box to give to patients—a box with options, with opportunities, and with education, something that patients could use at their own leisure and own pace.  

Three sealed envelopes labeled learn, control, and process.  Each to be opened when and if needed, at the patient’s discretion.  Each to begin with a personal letter of support from someone at Sibley or a survivor.     

Learn-we need to learn at our desired pace during treatments, and that choice isn’t always possible.  With this envelope, one can control how quickly or slowly one wants to dive into more information.  In this envelope one might find a short reading list of books that have been picked by survivors and Sibley team members, a link to an app that has specific content geared towards learning about the Sibley experience, and a “meet the team” pamphlet where one can learn more personally about one’s care team. 

Control-sometimes we feel like we are just along for the ride when we want to be choosing our own ride.  With this envelope, one is given opportunities and choices that they can take control of.  Inside, one might find a “what I like” card where one can list likes and dislike, a book of coupons that one might be able to use to ask for support from friends, a pamphlet about tattoos and ways to be in charge of one’s body, an invitation for cooking classes or a blue apron subscription. 

Process-processes in life are almost always difficult.  This envelope seeks to make the process more enjoyable.  Inside, one might find an iTunes gift card and an invitation to create a personalized playlist to be used during treatments, a guide to communicating with others about the experience, and some treats that are purely meant to be “feel good” items.

An equally exciting opportunity created in this prototype is the idea of who creates each box.  Perhaps one step of survivorship is to create a box that will be given to someone just starting, maybe each doctor or nurse has their own customized box of things that they think their patient would most benefit from, or maybe the box can be created by a spouse or friend or someone who will be there through and through. 

At that, I will simply conclude by saying that the team went forth to gather feedback about this prototype.  Would it be appreciated?  Would it raise more questions than answers?  Would it cause more stress than it alleviates?  There is only one way to know—feedback!

Speaking of which, please email HubBlog@jhmi.edu to share your feedback, experiences, feelings, comments, or ideas.  Also, send an email if you want to join our feedback team and are willing to be interviewed for our future projects!