At your own risk

Abstract: In this article, the author proposes that the emergence of digital, disease-tracking applications over the past ten years like HealthMap ( and Flu Near You ( that allow non-experts to contribute information about emergent public health threats have facilitated a “do-it-yourself (DIY)” risk assessment ethic. Focusing in particular on Flu Near You (FNY), a crowdsourced, flutracking program, the author argues that some participants use the mapping feature to curate their own risk information experience in determining the preventative behaviors they may want to engage in (if any) to prevent fl u. As outbreaks of infectious diseases increase (Smith et al., 2014), mHealth technologies like disease-tracking apps are evolving as an important risk assessment tool for both public health experts as well as non-expert, public audiences. Better understanding how non-experts use such information can inform not only the design of these apps but visual risk communication strategies more generally speaking.

Source: Welhausen, C.A., 2017. At Your Own Risk: User-Contributed Flu Maps, Participatory Surveillance, and an Emergent DIY Risk Assessment Ethic. Communication Design Quarterly, Vol 5:2, 51–61. DOI: 10.1145/3131201.3131206