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The semantics of conspicuity: Design strategies to address conspicuity in type 1 diabetes medical devices for adolescents

by Madeleine J. Hazelton, Gillian M. McCarthy, Edgar R. Rodríguez Ramírez

Published onNov 06, 2019
The semantics of conspicuity: Design strategies to address conspicuity in type 1 diabetes medical devices for adolescents

This paper reports on the development of semantic strategies designers can use when designing medical devices for adolescents with type 1 diabetes to match their preferences for conspicuity. Adolescents with type 1 diabetes use medical devices that can cause unwanted attention in public settings and can create perceived social pressures. The semantic strategies address conspicuity byenhancing the traditional medical device to make it more beautiful, disguising the medical device as a non-medical item, concealing the medical device from the public, personalising the medical device for the user, and using technology to advance the medical device. Participatory design methods were used to understand adolescents’ experiences of using medical devices in public and how the semantic strategies could be applied to match their preferences for conspicuous or inconspicuous medical devices. Both adolescent participants with type 1 diabetes felt comfortable testing in public; there were occasions where they did not want to answer questions from onlookers. Participants favoured a combination of the semantic strategies. In particular, they were making the device look less “medical” and more beautiful, and utilising technology to make the device more inconspicuous. This research developed semantic strategies to design new medical devices that match adolescent preferences for conspicuity.

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