Design Issues for a Collaborative On-Line Environment Supporting People at Different Stages of a Life-Threatening Illness

M. Radzikowska (Canada)


Collaborative systems, breast cancer, and interface design


People experiencing a life-threatening illness go through a number of typical stages: diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. Collaborative online tools to support such people need to accommodate not only the particular conditions relevant to each stage; but also facilitate interactions between people at different stages. Since the context is a life-threatening illness, attention also needs to be paid to issues of privacy and confidentiality. In this paper we describe the preliminary design and testing through focus groups of a system intended to support women going through the stages of breast cancer. Our results show that a system of the kind we propose has the potential to benefit this cohort both in details of practical daily management of the illness and also in psychological factors relating to self esteem and perceived agency.

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