Designers and developers speak different languages, have different needs, yet we are still working towards the same goal. Through my time at Unboxed, I have been working on making the transition of features smoother from design to development. This article includes various activities that we have trialed over the course of one project to ensure that there is clear communication and a successful collaboration.

Activities trialed:

  • Design and research debriefs
  • Creating two prototypes
  • Collaboratively writing user stories
  • Developers joining user research sessions

Collaboration beyond activities:

  • Being adaptable and responsive
  • Being present to answer questions or hop on a call
  • Mentoring and learning

Ongoing challenge:

  • Evaluating the Minimal Viable Product

Activities trialed

Design and research debriefs

After user research synthesis had taken place, the designer and researcher would host a one hour session towards the end of the sprint for the whole team. The purpose was to share the outcomes of the research, and the direction of features. …


The GOV.UK prototype kit is a great tool for creating accessible, interactive prototypes for public services. It ensures a quality of standard when creating coded prototypes that would be harder to achieve if building from scratch every time, especially in fast-paced environments.

Although the GOV.UK prototype kit is designed and built for public facing, transactional services, I am using the kit to create a Back Office Planning System. Our users are planning teams from local councils across the UK; they review and approve or refuse housing proposals that citizens want to build. Because the project is for many local councils, it is funded by a central government department, Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG); thus, using the GOV.UK …

Editor’s note: Claudia Hopkins was a user researcher at the Ontario Digital Service in 2018. Since then, she graduated at the top of the 2019 class from Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver with a degree in Interaction Design, and has returned to the public sector as an Interaction Designer for Public Health England.

Earlier this year, Claudia delivered a TEDx Talk on Service Design. It focused on making service design less abstract and more tangible for audiences. She shares her thoughts on service design below.

In many disciplines, we can become so focused on our day to day specialization that explaining what we do and how we work to others can be challenging. …

Making intentional choices to create images that represent patients

As an instructional designer, my role is to create a variety of online, interactive content that enhances user-experience and learning. Creating imagery representing patients in medical education without patient involvement may impact patient care as stereotypes may be reinforced. In my previous post, I showed an image that I created before starting my project. Since then, I have:

  • read artiread articles on diverse imagery (see references below)
  • led a participatory design workshop analyzing and creating diverse vs. ambiguous images in the context of medical education
  • moderated 5 user research sessions with learners assessing types of media used and diversity of patient depiction to improve patient case study…

Making the processes of creating online medical education more inclusive, experiential, and patient-centred.


I am an instructional designer at the University of British Columbia’s division of Continuing Professional Development (UBC CPD). The design team creates online courses for medical doctors, midwives, and other healthcare professionals.

The role of an instructional designer is a mix of content, visual and user experience design. We take content from a team of medical experts and make it more learnable, interactive, and engaging. The content given by experts includes patient case studies.

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This is an example of how patient case studies are presented on the UBC CPD eLearning site.

The case studies present a believable patient circumstance and ask the learner what they would do in that situation. The learner can then apply the information learned throughout the course. …


Claudia Hopkins

Designer at Unboxed with a passion for designing inclusive public services. Emily Carr University of Art + Design graduate. Views, my own.

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