Design taking action: A holistic approach to design problem solving applied to disease education



Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Creative Arts


Graphic Design

Committee Chair

Eve Faulkes.


The role of designer, in fact the entire design field, has changed significantly over the past 15 years. Described broadly, my current view of design is that of a problem solving activity---visually and abstractly. This paper discusses my influences and views of the roles of contemporary designers within the context of a collaborative health education project.;The design of the TakeAction! Addressing Asthma and Diabetes in West Virginia Public Schools CD-ROM teaching tool was the basis of my thesis project. This project was initiated by the West Virginia Asthma Coalition's School and Pediatrics Committee and funded by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources' Asthma Education and Prevention Program (WV-AEPP).;This design case study of the TakeAction! project details the new role and challenges designers are tackling by approaching design as a whole system of service, not just as the creation of artifacts for clients.;The project was broken into two phases. Phase One was completed by five designers and a multidisciplinary client-team of over thirty volunteers. Phase Two was a self-initiated assessment of the TakeAction! project. This stage evaluated, fixed bugs, and improved implementation into the West Virginia public school system. Phase Two called attention to the last phase of the design process, evaluation, as an important component of this new service design paradigm within graphic design. The resources created during Phase Two of the project tie the large program together post-design, a component that is seldom dealt with inside the design profession.;As designers, the TakeAction! project allowed us to break out of our perceived roles using design thinking to deal with ethnographic, political, technical, and implementation barriers. The user's experience was given paramount concern within the context of the holistic design process.

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