Background: In this study, we describe a participatory design process to develop a technology-based intervention for sun protection for children and their parents. Our methodology embraces and leverages the expert knowledge of the target users, children and their parents, about their sun protection practices to directly influence the design of our mobile just-in-time adaptive intervention (JITAI). The objectives of this paper are to describe our research procedures and summarize primary findings incorporated into developing our JITAI modules. Methods: We conducted 3 rounds of iterative co-design workshops with design expert KidsTeam UW children (N: 11–12) and subject expert children and their parents from local communities in California (N: 22–48). Iteratively, we thematically coded the qualitative data generated by participants in the co-design sessions to directly inform design specifications. Results: Three themes emerged: (1) preference for non-linear educational format with less structure,; (2) situations not conducive for prioritizing sun protection; and (3) challenges, barriers, and ambiguity relating to sun protection to protect oneself and one’s family. Based on the design ideas and iterative participant feedback, three categories of modules were developed: personalized and interactive data intake module, narrative-education module with augmented reality experiment, person/real-time tailored JITAI, and assessment modules. Conclusions: This is one of the first projects that maximally engage children and parents as co-designers to build a technology to improve sun protection with iterative and intentional design principles. Our scalable approach to design a mobile JITAI to improve sun protection will lay the foundation for future public health investigators with similar endeavors.
- Health disparity
- Just-in-time adaptive intervention
- Sun protection