Thoughts from The Mayor of Worldwide Breast Cancer

Mapping the Journey of The Worldwide Breast Cancer Project

Archive for design

Beehive Model for Online Social Activity

Here is my latest poster as part of my PhD dissertation on breast cancer communication. It is a social online model that I am developing based on how bees work in a community. This is also based on the chart published by Business Week last year.

Here is what I’ve found so far:
People need to be motivated to share their bookmarks to benefit others to complete the cycle of gathering and sharing. For example, a woman with breast cancer gathers a lot of information online that helps her make better health decisions. She is motivated by needing that information to save her life. But that information is usually not shared efficiently, or at all.

If she has no simple way of sharing this information that she’s gathered, it only benefits her. Even if she is motivated to share her knowledge with others, she may not share it because she doesn’t know how. This could be easily remedied with an aggregator like Del.icio.us that was specifically for a breast cancer community. But for now, cross-pollination is only happening with the few and rare expert worker bees and Queens.

What if we could do more than share links, but categorized and searchable links through social bookmarking? Like with Deligoo or Simpy? And people could enter that breast cancer library through anyone’s blog widget? That’s what I’d like to do. So if you’re a programmer and this scratches an itch for you too, say hello. Or if this is already out there and I’m just in the dark, hey really say hello.

So until people are sharing their resources, not a lot of cross-pollination is going on and websites decay from inactivity and bees go hungry. That’s the theory anyway. I say let’s do more than fill our baskets, let’s share them.

Click on the image to see it full size.

New Signs of Breast Cancer Poster

After celebrating a birthday yesterday (which funny enough is the same as WordPress’s birthday!), it’s back to work. So, I’ve created a survey designed to assess if my *new* breast cancer poster is communicating correctly. This is an interesting experiment, because it is taking visuals that communicate, and then seeing what the verbal interpretation of them is. I have a dilemma with this, as it may not matter what some of these things are called, as long as people are able to see the signs and recognize them if they see them for themselves, no matter what they call them. But that is the complication with working with visuals, in the end it usually comes down to the text than can support them, especially in the academic world!

But this exercise has helped me redesign aspects of this that I thought were weak without the text descriptions next to them. Knowing that these are tested without the descriptions has motivated me to critically analyse each of the signs and make them better.

So, take the quiz if you are so inclined, or get your friends to do it. It takes 5 minutes!http://lemonland.signsquiz.sgizmo.com

How Design can help

Design is the intentional organisation of matter. With good design, it can be easier to navigate a web page, or understand information. Here is an example illustrating the principle:

How many dots?

Example A requires each individual dot to be counted. Example B communicates at a glance because of its clear organisation. This is one example of design in using grouping, symmetry and consistency to show amount. There are many other ways to design information to show other types of information.

So, with some intentional organisation of breast cancer information, comprehending the issues can become much easier. Designers up to this point have not played a major role in the communication of breast cancer information, other than in advertising and marketing. That is why I’m looking at design’s impact on breast cancer and using it to improve communication.