Although this started off as a broad focus of addressing how people communicate physical pain, the main objective of this project was to explore how design can be used as a tool to make meaningful differences within current problems.
To begin our brainstorming, we asked ourselves:
"How do you describe physical pain?"
With my partner, we quickly identified some main issues to this question:
From this, we wanted to design something to improve the pain communiction process between patients and doctors.
After doing research, narrowing down our main goal, and prototyping, our final result became a pain survey with three parts that we administered to user-testing participants:
PART I: Artistic Interpretation of Pain
Participants were asked to recall and draw their current, most recent, and/or worst physical pain experience. Each drawing was subjective to their own experience, giving us a better understanding of how they perceive pain.
PART II: Printed Measurement Scales
Based on one of their three pain experiences from PART I, participants used all six preselected words to measure their overall pain experience. Two versions of the same scale (vertical & circular) were provided to encourage different ways of thinking about and measuring their pain.
PART III: Digital Animation Measurement Scales
Ten-second videos of each of the six words that animate the text to show pain intensity. Participants will have to move and pause the time marker to have all words visually represent their overall pain experience.
Although we provided general directions for all three portions, it was important for us as the surveyors to provide minimum guidance to ensure accurate, unbiased, and unique test results from each individual.
After follow-up questions and survey analysis, my partner and I received nothing but positive feedback from our participants and peers. Here were our findings:
Our final survey was still limited in terms of number of pain words, number of visual representations of each word, and amount of surveys we administered — these are steps that can always be made to the survey itself and will eventually evolve while we continue further surveying.
However, this overall project of helping our participants think and perceive their own physical pain made us understand design not only as a final product, but as a communication process as well.
Full process book here: Pain Communication Process Book
I'm Daniel Daquigan,
a designer living in San Francisco.