User experience (UX), a common practice in corporate settings, is new for many nonprofit organizations. This case study details a community-based research project between nonprofit staff at a community health center and UX professionals to improve the design and usability of a document designed to help immigrant patients sign up for health insurance. UX professionals may need to adapt and be flexible with their efforts, but can offer valuable skills to community partners. Research questions: (1) What are the information needs and barriers faced by immigrant populations signing up for health insurance? (2) How does a usability study, adapted to meet the needs of immigrant populations, inform the design of a supplemental guidebook about health insurance? (3) What are the challenges and opportunities when engaging in community-based UX research projects? Situating the case: Other community-based research projects in technical communication and UX point to the need for a clear conceptualization of participation, a strong partnership with nonprofits, and the need to develop meaningful and actionable insights. Furthermore, when conducting studies with immigrant populations, the role of the translator on the research team is crucial. Methodology: As a community-based research project focused on the collaborative generation of practical knowledge, we conducted a usability study with 12 participants in two language groups, Chinese and Vietnamese, to evaluate the design and usability of a guidebook designed to provide guidance about enrolling in a health insurance plan. Data were analyzed to identify usability concerns and used to inform a second iteration of the guidebook. About the case: Immigrant populations struggle to sign up for health insurance for a variety of reasons, including limited English and health insurance literacy. As a result, a nonprofit community health center developed a guidebook to support immigrant populations. Version 1 of this guidebook was evaluat- d in a usability study, with results showing that users struggled to correctly choose a plan, determine their eligibility, and interpret abstract examples. As a result, Version 2 was designed to support the in-person experience, reduce visual complexity, and support patients' key questions. Conclusions: Community-based UX collaborations can amplify the expertise of UX and nonprofit professionals. However, UX methods may need to be adapted in community-based projects to better incorporate local knowledge and needs.
IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication
Open Access Status
Rose, Emma J.; Racadio, R.; Wong, K.; Nguyen, S.; Kim, J.; and Zahler, A., "Community-Based User Experience: Evaluating the Usability of Health Insurance Information With Immigrant Patients" (2017). SIAS Faculty Publications. 756.