THINKING BEYOND PARTICIPATION FOR INDIGENOUS STUDENTS WELLBEING APP

Client: Australian Catholic University
Sector: Education

A wellbeing app for indigenous students needed a fresh approach, one that addresses challenges and was meaningful to its intended users.

Co-design Qualitative Research Prototyping Testing

Challenge

In working with Indigenous student leaders, the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education at ACU and the Wellbeing Technology Lab at the University of Sydney, Tobias had an opportunity to challenge its design approach and adapt it across cultures.

Participatory approaches to user research are generally intended to establish a more equitable partnership with users in the design process, however, the design process is still led and managed by expert designers. Moved by the call for Indigenous-led services, we sought to take the participatory approach further and experiment with ways to scaffold leadership, not just participation, for an app intended to support Indigenous university student wellbeing.

"Thank you for all of your wonderful work on the wellbeing app project. We have certainly learned a lot through the process and from working with your committed and forward thinking team" ALICIA FRANKLIN, RESEARCH PROJECT COORDINATOR, INSTITUTE FOR POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY & EDUCATION, ACU
Drawings from workshop.
Indigenous students were recruited to facilitate co-design workshops with their peers.

Approach

Together, we developed a process in which we as Human Centred Design practitioners could hand over the reins over to Indigenous community members so that they could lead technology projects, not just participate in them.

We experimented with ways to provide just the right amount of support and design tools only as needed and as we learned from each other, gained a deeper appreciation for how Indigenous ways of knowing stand to radically inform technology design.

"This pilot study has already and will continue to inform the way we structure our research projects in the future" ALICIA FRANKLIN, RESEARCH PROJECT COORDINATOR, INSTITUTE FOR POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY & EDUCATION, ACU
App wireframe.
Workshop concepts were validated and developed into a proof of concept that was tested further by the community.

Outcome

By teaching the student facilitators, they were supported in leading design workshops, concept validation and testing. Together, a prototype of the minimum viable product (MVP) for an Indigenous thriving app was created to explore the need to connect and access resources.

We plan to communicate our findings further, in the hopes that it may help others embrace Indigenous-led and user-led co-design on behalf of disenfranchised communities and subjugated knowledges around the world.

Co-design Qualitative Research Prototyping Testing