Human-Centered Design (HCD) is a research-driven, design-focused approach to creating solutions to problems that require change in human behavior or actions. Exploring messaging, packaging and product attributes of an HIV prevention product is one example of how HCD can be used to inform the development of products, so that these products willfit into the lives of women, enabling consistent, correct use. While existing literature from socio-behavioral studies discusses how lifestyles, hygiene practices, sexual risk taking, activities preceding intercourse, and potential for covert use may affect the uptake of microbicides, HCD studies focus not only on individual behavior and social, peer and community influences, but extend to understanding how product design, branding, packaging and messaging influence end user demand, confidence and long term engagement with the product. Given the complicated factors that surround uptake of an HIV prevention product, HCD may provide valuable and additional insights into end-user preferences.
Thanks to the funding and support of PEPFAR through USAID, CONRAD is collaborating with the global design firm IDEO and other partners to find HCD solutions to improve adherence to microbicides and ultimately, to implement these solutions in a way that will make a real impact in preventing new HIV infections.