Objective: To explore participant experiences of an online co-design process to develop a web-based preventative mental health and well-being intervention targeting primary producers in rural Australia
Setting: Rural Victoria, Australia
Participants: Participants from a primary producer background, including horticulture, fisheries, animal cultivation and farm consultancy, were eligible for the study if they had participated in both the co-design and beta testing processes for a primary producer platform.
Design: A qualitative study using semi-structured phone-based interviews was undertaken. A reflexive inductive approach to data analysis was employed to develop themes.
Results: Eleven participants were interviewed, with an average age of 51 years, of which 7 were female. Five main themes were developed. These included: (1) participant diversity, (2) impact of online delivery on co-design participation, (3) experiences of the co-design process, (4) maintaining a shared vision and goals and (5) acting on the co-design recommendations. Use of online methods was a clear enabler to engage participants who were geographically dispersed and offers an alternative to more conventional approaches to co-design using face-to-face methods. Some aspects of participant engagement may need a greater focus when conducted online compared with face-to-face.
Conclusion: Using an online co-design method to develop a preventative mental health and well-being web-based platform for primary producers was novel. Findings address a gap in the literature around the experience of participants engaging in a co-design process and identify opportunities to improve participant engagement and experience with the online format.