Timely interventions

Perinatal depression, which affects up to one in seven women, occurs during pregnancy and up to one year after the birth of a child. In many cases sufferers attempt to ignore the symptoms, which in turn causes even greater stress with partners, family and friends.

The Boots Family Trust is a charity specifically founded to support research and development of treatment to address this often debilitating condition. They have formed an alliance with various leading bodies, including City, University of London, to progress this. Part of their work with the University is the commissioning of a website  to provide up-to-date evidence-based information and support for those experiencing perinatal distress.

EQtwo was the agency appointed and tasked with meeting the challenge of delivering a website that will take users on a journey of self-assessment, leading them towards targeted interventions designed to alleviate the symptoms they help identify.

To achieve this, we are developing a framework that lets us build self-assessment and intervention pages in a way that is both efficient and highly flexible. These pages will range from a relatively simple series of multiple choice questions, to a more complex arrangement of contextual feedback, text input, and range sliders, designed to be completed over several days.

Creating an appropriate user experience which is calming and inviting has been a primary objective. To achieve this sense of online tranquility we are deliberately avoided flashy popups, overlays, and page transitions, but focusing on creating a clean, minimalist, distraction-free environment where users can interact with the self-assessment tool and the available interventions.

Instructions, questions and tasks are presented individually, with simple, bold typography and clear prompts for interactions and minimal visual distractions. As ever, executing a “less is more” design approach proves more challenging to fulfill, particularly with an online experience that needs to be both engaging and encouraging.

Accessibility to the site was also key, as it is anticipated that some users will want to access this website privately, possibly with only a few moments of time to spare. Therefore we are specifically designing the self-assessment and interventions with mobiles and tablets in mind. The result being something that will feel more like an app than a typical online survey. It is intended to launch the website in the coming month.

Planned future developments will see the addition of user profiles, along with email notifications and a form of performance tracking which will make it easier for users to develop and complete a full programme of self-help interventions tailored to their specific requirements.