Ee-lin Chang - Manager Health promotion - Family Planning NSW
Being the parent or carer of a child with autism or intellectual disability can be unpredictable; even more so when they start entering puberty. But resources were scarce. Our brief from Family Planning NSW was to create a first-of-its-kind platform that helped guide parents and carers through this challenging period.
How could we help the parents and carers of children with autism or intellectual disability to navigate puberty? Providing support and education for their children can be challenging as parents and carers often lack confidence, are under-resourced, or are unaware that their children might need the same sexuality education as peers without disability. To address the issue, Family Planning NSW was tasked with creating a digital resource to help parents and carers. Accessibility was key – the resources had to be co-designed with the target audience for perspectives that were critical in guiding the development of the project at all stages.
Entering puberty is like entering a new world, where new rules apply. So we created a new world of our own: Planet Puberty. The idea took a light-hearted approach to what can be a category overburdened with worthy messages. The educational platform provided a whole world of information and resources. As well as validating design decisions with the co-design team, we applied Userway, an automated accessibility solution for ADA and WCAG compliance; chose accessible colour palettes, fonts and font sizes; and enabled downloadable ‘easy read’ PDFs across the site. We engaged the co-design team throughout the entire design process.
Thanks to our research-based, co-design approach, Planet Puberty has fast become an essential resource for the disability community. Results in year one have been hugely positive: • Total website users (May 21- April 22): 55,130 (incredibly high penetration given the total number of children 0-14 with an intellectual disability in Australia was 190,000 in 2015, so numbers in puberty or pre-puberty would be far lower). • Engagement rate – users who clicked on or interacted with the content - a remarkable 88.12% Making information easy to access and understand, through intuitive, accessible UX and UI, has empowered parents, carers and their children alike.
The research insights led to firm guiding principles for the project: •Be sex positive: Create a fun, light-hearted, welcoming resource. •Empower the user: Provide inclusive, non-judgemental information that allows people to make their own decisions. •Normalise the conversation: Make the conversations everyday, so that parents feel empowered to have them. •Say it straight: Rather than communicating through innuendo (e.g., a condom on a banana), be clear, simple, and direct. As a result, the design team created an entire puberty education platform, bringing a fun, accessible tone to a subject often filled with apprehension. As well as a fresh brand identity and suite of illustrations, the project included: •Educational website •Interactive games for iPad and desktop, covering personal boundaries, recognising feelings, and understanding what’s appropriate in private and public spaces •Podcast •Webinars Social assets, including 6 sec videos, text, and audio •Email