The internet has become an increasingly popular source of health information, particularly for those living with chronic conditions. However, few websites are in an accessible format for people with aphasia. Consultation with SLTs when designing accessible websites is commendable, however, differences in what people with aphasia and SLTs consider to be ‘good’ websites have been reported(1). Therefore, people with aphasia should be involved in the design and development of websites that target information to that population1. We collaborated with people with aphasia, as potential users, and therefore expert consultant designers, in the co-design of an aphasia accessible website.
Design a relevant and accessible website in collaboration with people with aphasia.
A participatory approach using collaborative co-design techniques was employed to empower participants in the co-construction of the website. Communication was facilitated through supported conversation techniques. An essential component was the clarification process where ideas were summarised and consensus sought at the end of each workshop, where possible. The timely and iterative process gave participants opportunity to evaluate/re-evaluate suggestions as the website developed. Participants were interviewed following the workshops to feedback on their experience of the research process.
Four men (age 49-72) with aphasia (WABAQ 47-88) participated in 10 3-hour workshops. Participants deliberated and agreed the name, logo, structure, content and format of the new website making it relevant and accessible for people with aphasia. Feedback interviews highlighted the positive experience of the research process by participants.
The use of a participatory approach facilitated the development of an aphasia accessible website by potential users; co-designed content, structure and format. This collaboration promoted active engagement with individuals who are living with aphasia and passionate about increasing awareness and management of their condition.
The provision of online health related information requires collaboration with potential users to ensure its accessibility for the targeted population.
1Ghidella, C., Murray, S., Smart, M., McKenna, K., & Worrall, L. (2005). Aphasia websites: An examination of their quality and communicative accessibility. Aphasiology, 19(12), 1134-1146.