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Design for decision making: the design of information for later life housing options

Warner, R. (2021) Design for decision making: the design of information for later life housing options. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00104544

Abstract/Summary

This research explores the visual presentation of information for UK later life housing options provided by third sector organisations. The aim is to understand how design and design practice contribute to the effective provision of information that supports decision-making activities. Discussed below are the research approach and techniques used, recommendations for design practice, and avenues for further enquiry. A layered and pragmatic research approach is used, including analysis of the visual organisation of housing options documents and discussions with users about perceptions of existing documents. Design practice, in relation to such documents, is considered through interviews with trained designers and document producers working in the third sector. The techniques used to describe document design and elucidate design practice include: tree diagrams, tables, document thumbnails, and colour coding to unpack graphic features; visual prompts to encourage discussion of design practice; paper and digital techniques to organise interview data; and spatial arrangements and colour coding in charts to communicate collated findings. The development of a framework to direct thinking towards document design also aided familiarisation with the multi-disciplinary domain of later life housing. The research approach taken confirms the value of synthesising multiple perspectives so that the following recommendations can be better implemented within real-world design practice: using visual rhetoric appropriate for impartial content, to facilitate document use and perceived value; developing design resources to visually differentiate documents and a library of graphic features that facilitate decision-making activities; evaluating the comparative affordances of print and digital documents for decision making; and recognising the importance of image choice. The techniques used also have implications for design practitioners and researchers aiming to elucidate design practices within multi-disciplinary domains, and have pedagogical value for conducting visual analyses of documents. The findings also have implications for the management of design projects in the domain of later life housing, including financial considerations impacting third sector design practice, the integral role of design briefs in collaborative projects, and the involvement of users. Areas for further research identified include the development of ‘conversation starter’ documents for later life housing, participant studies exploring how visually differentiating documents can alleviate perceptions of information overload, and the application of findings to other real-world domains, such as Power of Attorney, that deal with later life and decision making

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Walker, S., Black, A. and Moys, J.-L.
Thesis/Report Department:Department of Typography & Graphic Communication
Identification Number/DOI:https://doi.org/10.48683/1926.00104544
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Typography & Graphic Communication
ID Code:104544
Date on Title Page:November 2020

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