Evaluating human-centred design for public health: a case study on developing a healthcare app with refugee communities

Rebeccah Bartlett, Jacqueline A. Boyle, Jessica Simons Smith, Nadia Khan, Tracy Robinson, Rohit Ramaswamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Australian women from migrant and refugee communities experience reduced access to sexual and reproductive healthcare. Human-centred design can be a more ethical and effective approach to developing health solutions with underserved populations that are more likely to experience significant disadvantage or social marginalisation. This study aimed to evaluate how well Shifra, a small Australian-based not-for-profit, applied human-centred design when developing a web-based application that delivers local, evidence-based and culturally relevant health information to its non-English speaking users. Methods: This study undertook a document review, survey, and semi-structured interviews to evaluate how well Shifra was able to achieve its objectives using a human-centred design approach. Results: A co-design process successfully led to the development of a web-based health app for refugee and migrant women. This evaluation also yielded several important recommendations for improving Shifra’s human-centred design approach moving forward. Conclusions: Improving refugees’ access to sexual and reproductive health is complex and requires innovative and thoughtful problem solving. This evaluation of Shifra’s human-centred design approach provides a helpful and rigorous guide in reporting that may encourage other organisations undertaking human-centred design work to evaluate their own implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number32
Number of pages13
JournalResearch Involvement and Engagement
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Design thinking
  • Evaluation
  • Human-centred design
  • Refugee health

Cite this