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About the Research & Design Process

Human-centered design offers methods to collaboratively create policy or services with the public and service providers. 

 
 
 

PPL and MHA developed the NYC Well design tools over three months of human-centered research and design activities.

In addition to carrying out new qualitative research with New Yorkers, MHA and City leaders, and front-line providers, the project team also drew on mental-health findings from past human-centered work with the New York City Mayor’s Office and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Insights from research fed into an iterative design process, where PPL and MHA staff collaborated to identify the tools that would best support future decision making around NYC Well products and features. See a complete project timeline below.

 
 
 

 

Human-Centered
Design Is...

Co-Creative

 We bring all stakeholders into the process of generating solutions and testing prototypes to better serve end-users.

We bring all stakeholders into the process of generating solutions and testing prototypes to better serve end-users.

 

Visual & Iterative

 We turn abstract ideas into visual artifacts—repeatedly revising them to build shared understanding for better decision-making.

We turn abstract ideas into visual artifacts—repeatedly revising them to build shared understanding for better decision-making.

 

Time-Based

 We represent services as people experience them—as a set of sequential interactions that occur over time.

We represent services as people experience them—as a set of sequential interactions that occur over time.

 

Holistic

 We approach services as systems, where touchpoints should relate to one another and deliver a consistent user experience. 

We approach services as systems, where touchpoints should relate to one another and deliver a consistent user experience. 

 
 
 
 
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Project Timeline

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Phase one: SCOPE

Goal Setting & Planning 

MHA-NYC and PPL discussed together the learning goals for the project and identified with three big questions:

  1. Who doesn’t use NYC Well and why?
  2. Who does use NYC Well and are they happy with the service?
  3. How can NYC Well’s products and services best respond to user behavior and needs?

To answer these questions, the team developed a formative research plan to understand people’s current experiences and needs in regards to accessing behavioral health care. 

 
 
 

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phase two: Research

User Research, Synthesis & Idea Generation

The team conducted interviews and generative research activities with NYC Well users, MHA-NYC and City staff, and front-line service providers. We also interviewed New Yorkers who have not used NYC Well. Findings about users and non-users' needs were presented to MHA-NYC and City leadership.

 
 
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Phase Three: DESIGN & REPORT

Tool Design & Documentation

Building on our research findings, the team created a set of tools to guide future NYC Well product and service design. During design, MHA-NYC and PPL staff held two co-design sessions to test and refine tool prototypes. In addition, PPL created this website and a recommendations report to capture the project process and outcomes. 

 
 
 

Design Tools Website

DIGITAL Final Report

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Journey Map

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Persona Cards

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Acknowledgments

This effort is the result of a collaboration between the Mental Health Association of New York City and the Public Policy Lab. Our work is only possible because of the insight and generosity of the dozens of New York City residents, service providers, and MHA and City staff who volunteered to share their experiences with us. 

Special thanks to the Brooklyn Public Library, the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, and the MHA teams at the NYC Well Contact center, the Queens Adolescent Skills Center, the Queens Family Resource Center, and Harlem Bay Network PROS for logistical and research support. 

 
 
 
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