The Challenge

In 2019 we were approached by The Health Literacy Team, part of the BC Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA).   The aim of the Health Literacy Team is to enhance the physical and mental health and well-being of BC’s children, youth, and families through health promotion and health literacy.

The project lead  explained that the video was for youth who had just been certified by their doctor under The Mental Health Act.  This requires a hospital stay and treatment, often against the will of the patient.  Understandably this is a sensitive situation for all involved.  The video needed to help youth aged around 11 to 17, and their families to get quickly and calmly informed about their rights, options and opportunities, and provide access to further support resources.

The Solution

In thinking through a solution with the team, we explored how our video users might be feeling – emotionally overwhelmed, scared, angry and frustrated.  We understood that many felt betrayed by their family and friends, and would be battling with the loss of personal control.

Our affective insights lead us to a set of production principles:

  • Avoid supplying too much information at once
  • Give viewers time to think and reflect
  • Help users maintain focus, and quickly and easily find/revisit the information they need
  • Maintain a calm, visual approach throughout
  • Provide a supportive and understanding tone
  • Make it simple and easy to access on any mobile device

Simplifying online-learning delivery…

Rather than just creating a video, we proposed creating an interactive video using The Learnbase Video Lesson Maker, producing a solution that would be more like a one-page kit, of which the video was a key part.  This had a number of advantages:

The VLM provided us with a structure, guiding the team in thinking about how to present the content in discreet bit size chunks.

The VLM functionality meant we could:

  • Incorporate pauses to give the viewer time to digest, explore and understand what they’d heard
  • Supply an always visible content menu so users maintained control, able to select the parts of the video they wanted to focus on, or revisit content as much as required
  • Keep the video messaging clear and simple to avoid overwhelming users with too many details, and use the workbook to build on the video content
  • Keep video and supporting content on the same page to avoid distractions
  • Ensure the video was accessible on any type of mobile device
  • Host the solution on an existing site, ensuring ease of access without requiring password protected log-in


Around the time the team were discussing narration ideas it just so happened that I went to see a play that a friend was directing, and which featured a young cast. The play inspired him with the idea of using the voice of a peer in the video – a fictional character who was perhaps a bit older than the viewer, and with whom viewers might empathize.  The narrator would be looking back on their experience of being certified, and helping guide the viewer through the process, helping to answer their questions.


When we reviewed the discreet information sections presented by the client team, we could clearly visualize a set of infographics building within each video section.

With a focus on the infographic imagery we could keep text to an absolute minimum in the video.  Using the video maker functionality we could provide a pause at the end of each video section, and invite the user to click on the infographic icons to find out more about what they had just heard in The VLM workbook sections.

We produced a set infographic icons which were drawn in a sensitive cartoon style.


Neil also engaged an animator to create soft, gentle animation.  “We paid special attention to the choice of colours, using some really beautiful, calm blue and purple background gradients.  Rather than a constant stream of distracting images, we really focused on building the pictures up slowly and steadily to create a gentle and unthreatening aesthetic.