One of the core principles within our CLAHRC is the commitment to co production with patients and carers in the design and delivery of our work, and this has been evident across a broad variety of projects so far. We decided to take this one step further by developing a public-facing website, to showcase this activity, promote involvement opportunities and raise the profile of CLAHRC SY amongst South Yorkshire communities.
To ensure the website remained true to this principle of co-production, we involved the public from the word go in the website's development. We adopted a participatory design approach, and the interdisciplinarity of our working group was crucial to the success of the project. This involved members of the public, CLAHRC researchers, and multimedia designers.
Working with industry is another key tenet of CLAHRC SY, and we chose to work with Optical Jukebox and Ammba Digital Consulting, due to their commitment to developing healthy communities through the use of digital media. Involving these companies has given us access to innovative web design approaches and the opportunity to document the process using video.
We are using this video resource to evaluate the process, and it will act as a reference point and a learning tool for future work within our CLAHRC.
We held three participatory design workshops with a diverse and very motivated team of ten Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) participants, who brought a broad range of health and social experiences to the table. This groupincluded individuals with visual impairment, long-term neurological conditions, dyslexia, English as a second language, BME groups, and mental health service users. This even included a gentleman who does not own a computer, but who made many insightful suggestions on what may appeal to him and others like him. Working with this group led to designs that reflect the problems that our participants and the public face daily in terms of the accessibility and usability of websites. The workshops proved to be a real eye opener for all of us, and we have learnt so much from each other's unique perspectives and needs.
We feel we can say that this website has been developed in true partnership with the public right from the outset. Through a series of brainstorming sessions, we were able to understand what information people want about research and our CLAHRC, and how they would like it presented to them. This challenged our preconception as researchers and designers, and as a group we were able to develop and strengthen the objectives and 'unique selling point' of the website.
Across the workshops we have developed the website in close liaison with the participants - from developing the layout and content of the site, to determining its name and the style of language used. The name our participants chose is 'Be Involved', which they feel extends a warm and friendly invite to the public to find out more about, and take part in, the work of CLAHRC SY. The website will be launched in the New Year - watch this space: www.beinvolved-sy.org.uk