Young carers as co-designers of a web-based support system - the views of two publics.
Paper i proceeding, 2011

Aims: The aims of the study was to reveal young carers views of design of a web-base support system directed to them and to reveal differences between their views and the views of project representatives, in a participatory design process. Methods: Eight young people, 17-24, close to and supporting someone with mental illness were involved in either a work or a test group. The work group participated in video recorded design meetings with representatives of the project. Content analysis and Dewey's concept of public were applied on the data. The test group worked from their homes and data were collected via test forms. Data from the test group coherent to the content of the design meetings were added as supplement. Results: Four resulting themes were revealed, constituting key-parts in the design of the WBSS: Communicating the message, ideational working principles, considerations on user interaction, and user interface. Furthermore decisive differences between the views of participants and project representatives were found. Participants view of the user was a person that had a usefulness perspective and the object for support was primarily the person with mental illness. The project representatives' view of the user was a person that had a short- and long-term self-care perspective and the object of support was primarily him-/herself. Conclusion: The design of a WBSS for young carers should consider four key-parts, but early user involvement and critical reflection in the PD process itself may be crucial to discern differences between designers and user, not the least when their different publics overlap.

Support system

Participatory design

Young carers



Perspectives on design


Mikael Elf

Göteborgs universitet

Hans Rystedt

Göteborgs universitet

Johan Lundin

Göteborgs universitet

Barbro Krevers

Advances in Health Care Sciences Conference, Oct 18-19 2011, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm

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