This paper explores participatory design walks (PD walks) as a first step toward a participatory design of health information technology (HIT) aimed at tackling health inequality in a neighbourhood identified as a high-risk health area. Existing research shows that traditional methods for health promotion, such as campaigns and teaching, have little to no effect in high-risk health areas. Rather, initiatives must be locally anchored – integrated into the local culture, and based on social relationships and group activities. This paper explains how we conducted PD walks with residents and community workers in the neighbourhood and how this participatory approach supported a first step toward HIT design that tackles health inequality. This is important, as people in neighbourhoods with high health risks are not the target audience for the health technology innovation currently taking place despite the fact that this group suffers the most from health inequality and weigh most on the public healthcare services and costs. The study identifies social and cultural aspects that influence everyday health management and presents how a citizen-driven approach like PD walks, can contribute valuable insights for design of HIT. The paper provides concrete methodological recommendations on how to conduct PD walks that are valuable to HIT designers and developers who aim to do PD with neighbourhoods.
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