Reducing Harm by Designing Discourse and Digital Tools for Opioid Users’ Contexts: The Chicago Recovery Alliance’s Community-Based Context of Use and PwrdBy’s Technology-Based Context of Use

by Kristin Marie Bivens
Harold Washington College
The United States is struggling with an opioid overdose (OD) crisis. The opioid OD epidemic includes legally prescribed and illicitly acquired opioids. Regardless of if an opioid is legal, understanding users’ contexts of use is essential to design effective methods for individuals to reverse opioid OD. In other words, if health information is not designed to be contextually relevant, the opioid OD health information will be unusable. To demonstrate these distinct healthcare design contexts, I extend Patient Experience Design (PXD) to include community-based and technology-based contexts of use by analyzing two case examples of the Chicago Recovery Alliance’s and PwrdBy’s attempts to decrease deaths by opioid OD. Next, I discuss implications of community-based and technology-based PXD within communities of opioid users, critiquing each method and suggesting four contexts of use-heuristic categories to consider when designing health communication information for users in these contexts.

DJs, Playlists, and Community: Imagining Communication Design through Hip Hop

by Victor Del Hierro
This article argues for the inclusion of Hip Hop communities in technical communication research. Through Hip Hop, technical communicators can address the recent call for TPC work to expand the field through culturally sensitive and diverse studies that honor communities and their practices. Using a Hip Hop community in Houston as a case study, this article discusses the way DJs operate as technical communicators within their communities. Furthermore, Hip Hop DJs build complex relationships with communities to create localized and accessible content. As technical communicators, Hip Hop practitioners can teach us to create community-based communication design for more diverse contexts.

Testing the Difference Between Appearance and Ability Customization

by Ryan Rogers and Laura Dunlow
Gaming literature largely treats customization as a monolithic concept. This article provides three experiments that test the differences between appearance customization and ability customization. While these three studies provided a degree of replication, they examined between 105 and 147 college students in three different video game scenarios (no game play, non-human avatar, and difficult game). While the results varied slightly based on the scenario, evidence emerged that appearance customization was more likely than ability customization to enhance participant attitude toward the game and likelihood to spend money on the game. The findings of these studies should inform the types of customization used in a variety of domains and should provide guidance on the design process to offer simple and cost-effective methods to improve sales and attitudes toward content. Specifically, appearance customization is a more effective way for organizations to influence users.