Using Human‑Centered Design Strategies to Identify Unmet Adolescent Sexual Health Wants and Needs

Publication Year: 2023
Contributing Organisation: MyHealthEd, Inc
Authors: Cristina Leos, Elizabeth Chen, and Vichi Jagannathan
Learning Themes: Adolescent Insights

This paper describes a human-centered design approach to investigate unmet adolescent sexual health wants and needs among youth of color in low-income and rural communities in Texas, North Carolina, and Connecticut (n=149). The approach involved gathering qualitative data through in-depth interviews and other human-centered design activities between April 2016 and August 2016. Data were analyzed using thematic content analysis after each round of data collection. Themes were triangulated across multiple data sources to identify key insights. Results highlighted several important unmet wants and needs. Participants shared that schools were not the preferred place to learn about sexual health and healthy relationships, due to uncomfortable and sometimes even hostile environments. When discussing the potential to use internet- and technology based sexual health resources, participants expressed concerns over privacy, safety, and credibility of information available. Similarly, participants preferred mobile apps over websites due to the privacy of the experience. Most importantly, key emotions impacting adolescents’ access to, and use of sexual health resources were identified. Results indicated a preference for consuming story-based information in a text message format that described diverse experiences related to sexual health topics. Together, these findings led to the development of an innovative, mobile health intervention for adolescents, the Real Talk mobile app. This human-centered approach can support researchers and practitioners in strengthening intervention development efforts to improve the reach, adoption, and implementation of sexual health interventions.

Related Resources

Adolescent Insights
Global Health
Measurement & Evaluation
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Youth Integration

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