Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Kay Mc Keon 

MA Design for Change

I have over 18 years’ experience working as a graphic designer for a diverse range of clients in Ireland, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Africa. These have included global high end corporate brands, international NGOs, health and wellness, tourism, and small local homegrown businesses. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2017. The experience changed my approach to life and the focus of my work. I have always believed in using my creativity to enhance my life and the lives of others. My design research work focuses on the Information Deficit experienced by People Affected by Cancer in Ireland.

Project Description

The Information Deficit (ID) is one of the top five unmet needs facing cancer patients in Ireland. Patients who feel more connected to a support system are more likely to know the signs of diseases, understand information, and are less likely to drop out of the system. The information needs of Breast Cancer Patients (BCPs) do not significantly decrease over time. However, the type of information BCPs seek does change. There is a growing need for better information sharing and care coordination for BCPs.

A mixed method study to investigate the IDs by using pragmatic methodologies through qualitative and quantitative participation action research. Data was collected through 10 interviews and three workshops. Design Thinking tools and Thematic Analysis highlighted key themes in the research.

Project Objectives

- Create a design report which presents the gathered data from desktop research, interviews and workshops

- Create visual artefacts to reflect findings in the design report

Personal Objectives:

This final MA project affords the opportunity to integrate design and academic skills on a research topic that I am very passionate about. It also allows me to acquire expert knowledge and transferable skills necessary for my professional development.

Project Outcomes


- Nine Key Themes identified breakdowns in communication that create fear and exacerbate mental health issues related to a cancer diagnosis. These greatly impacted the development of patient and practitioner relationships.

- Navigating cancer information online can lead to further feelings of frustration, disillusionment, and exposure to misinformation.

- Over half the content found on Irish websites was considered too basic by participants. The UX+UI component of Irish websites performed poorly, and this was exaggerated further when compared to their international counterparts.


There is a mismatch between the information given to BCP and their ability to process it. Better understanding is needed of how ID happen and BCP mental models. Better UX+UI design would increase BCP satisfaction and experience of Irish cancer information websites.

Thesis Title

An Investigation into the Information Deficits Experienced by Breast Cancer Patients in Ireland