What makes a home? Designing home personas to represent the homes of families caring for children with medical complexity

Personas are widely recognized as valuable design tools for communicating dimensions of individuals, yet they often lack critical contextual factors. For those people managing chronic health conditions, the home is a critical context of their patient work system (PWS). This paper including HIP Investigator Dr. Ryan Coller proposes the development of ‘home personas’ to convey essential aspects of the home context to those tasked with designing technologies and interventions to fit it.

An iterative, multi-stakeholder design process was used to design ‘home personas’ for a model population, families caring for children with medical complexity. Each of the four resultant home personas-Multi-level, Customized, Ranch, and Rental-has a unique home layout, pain points, and are described on three dimensions that emerged from the data. This study builds on a foundation of work in the emerging field of Patient Ergonomics, describing a mechanism for distilling rich descriptions of the PWS into brief yet informative design tools.

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