Date of Award

Spring 5-2015

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Design (MDes)




Dan Boyarski

Second Advisor

Aisling Kelliher


Pain is the number one reason people access the healthcare system. Yet, it remains widely inadequately assessed, eventually leading to complications and compromises in quality of care. Self-report scales reduce the complexity to uni-dimensional statements of pain severity; for example, by asking patients to estimate their pain intensity on a 0 to 10 scale. While this is at best appropriate for acute pain, it is an oversimplification for chronic pain patients. This project investigates how patients and clinicians negotiate pain communication and proposes a novel way for patients and clinicians to assess an communicate pain, by using a set of expressive abstract animations which can be visually configured to reflect change in intensity. The project also discusses the dynamics between a patient and clinician, as well as the challenges inherent in the interactions.