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Blending into Everyday Life: Designing a Social Media-Based Peer Support System. Computer Science.

Daniel Lambton-Howard, Emma Simpson, Kim Quimby, Ahmed Kharrufa, Patrick Olivier

Kim Quimby

CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems


Peer support through social media has been shown to have significant potential to improve health care outcomes. Despite this, very little is understood about how to design a social media-based peer support system. We use the model of unplatformed design to structure a multi-phase design process of a WhatsApp-based peer support system, with and for participants undergoing extreme weight loss as part of a health care intervention into diabetes management. From a mixed-methods evaluation of a three-month deployment of the system and reflections upon the design process we explore the value of the model in facilitating the expression of authentic peer support, and identify how the unique characteristics of unplatformed design allowed for the creation of a peer support system that was responsive to participants’ existing everyday use of social media technologies.



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