Our goal is to build technologies that help people change behaviors that affect their health, and help them maintain those changes.
While our work spans many areas of health, a major focus is on sexual health. Many of our projects explore ways that technology can be used to prevent and improve care for sexually-transmitted infections, like HIV.
Whether it's helping people make more informed choices about sex, get tested more regularly, or get (and stay) connected with treatment, we believe technology can play an important role.
From start to finish, our approach typically involves three stages:
This involves conducting basic research to get a good grasp on how & why people make certain choices that affect their health.
Next, we get to work designing, developing, and refining the tools themselves. And we involve their intended users each step of the way.
In this step, we test each tool we build to see whether it actually helps people make better decisions, and lead healthier lives.
More about the nuts & bolts:
To build effective tools, we first need a thorough understanding of how and why people make certain choices about sex and their health. We generally tackle this step by designing and conducting research studies that look a lot like basic science to get a good grasp on the things that affect their decisions. And we often use the latest technologies to help us do that.
Studying the choices our users make, like how they meet partners, how they make decisions about protection, and how they connect with sexual health resources (e.g., testing, treatment) ultimately helps us develop a sound scientific understanding that gives us better insight into the kind of tools that people want and need.
Develop & refine.
Once we have a working model, we then put our heads together with designers and developers to come up with a technological approach that can help people make healthier choices. Whether through websites, smartphone apps, hardware, or some combination of these, the specific type of tool we use depends on the context involved.
In this stage, we also involve intended users as early as possible, asking them to help us with development every step of the way. From concept, to wireframing, to evaluating releases, we seek feedback from target users throughout the building process.
While we certainly want to build things that people find useful, we also want to know that it actually works. That is, does using our tool help people make healthier choices, and ultimately lead healthier lives?
Exactly how we go about this depends on what the tool was built to address, but often involves conducting studies that explore whether using the tool improves health beyond other common behavior change techniques, or against “standard practice.”