Dorothea Wagnerberger



Interactive edutainment
on gender medicine

Masterthesis 2023

Finalist Best in Design 2024 (Service Design), Zlin Design Week
Exhibition “Art, Gender & Medicine” at the Kvu, Berlin, 10.2023
Exhibition at Schauwerk, Magdeburg, 12.2023

Disregarding crucial gender-specific differences and potential risks in medicine leads to widespread gender inequalities. Despite this, knowledge about gender-sensitive medicine isstill rarely put into practice. This master’s thesis examines how patients can be sensitized to this complex topic in a preventive manner.

Two complementary interactive edutainment formats were developed: An exhibition course immerses visitors in the role of a patient seeking diagnosis, confronting them with gender-specific treatment dimensions and delays due to ‘atypical’ symptoms. The experience is augmented by an interactive deck of cards that supplement knowledge with case studies and practical advice, fostering learning and discussions

The final evaluation showed the potential of the concept to communicate information through a playful and interactive approach, to increase health literacy and awareness and to stimulate discourse.

Concept I

The exhibition course Aberrations in Medicine illustrates gender-specific aspects of the clinical pictures of heart attacks and depression.

Visitors actively take on the role of a patient based on a drawn description of symptoms.In search of a diagnosis, they visit different stations around the room (waiting room, family doctor, psychiatrist and emergency call)where they can interact in various ways. However, they are always sent home by the doctors. The symptoms become more and more serious and the visitors only manage to resolve them by taking the initiative, e.g. by calling the emergency number and asking questions. Here, the role they were in is revealed to them. “Atypical” symptoms in the role of woman or man delayed their diagnosis.

Concept II

”Gendermedol” is a deck of cards intended to support further discussion of the topic after the exhibition. With diverse case studies, the cards offer an additional level of information that also provides material for further conversation in a private setting.

Each card tells a story about a health problem. Through playful interaction, the solution can be revealed along with general facts and background information.

Three different interaction techniques give the game a puzzle character and invite players to discover.

Action jokers and an explanatory leaflet provide additional encouragement to engage with the topic.


Data on cis men form a large part of knowledge and are used as representative of all people. Their measurements, habits and needs are too often taken as standard. The consequences of a world that is based on this androcentric data are complex and affect social, economic, medical and everyday areas.

Medicine is still too often based on the (male) „standard“ human
being and treats all patients uniformly, disregarding significant genderspecific differences – in diagnosis, treatment, medication or research – which can have life-threatening consequences. For this reason, a change in awareness of the need for gender medicine is urgently needed.

Gender-sensitive medicine takes into account these aspects as well as the complex biological and socio-cultural differences. Although the WHO has been recommending gender-sensitive healthcare since 2001, the issue still receives too little attention.


The work aims to raise awareness of the current situation of predominantly androcentric standardized medicine.

The target group of patients, the main actors in the medical care system, have not only the desire for change, but also the power to drive a change in awareness.

They were analyzed using an online survey and guided interviews, resulting in the development of four personas.

Methodologically, the work is based on the objectives of health communication.

The need for a combination of different strategies and the methods of fear appeal and case studies became apparent during the ideation process.


Research question:
How can health information be communicated and designed in such a way that patients are made aware of the need for gender-sensitive medicine?
How can interactive edutainment formats support active engagement and raise awareness of the topic?


Two click prototypes were tested to develop the concept and its storylines. The spatial structure was tested and optimized with paper models.

The technical implementation was realized with an Arduino, which recognizes the input at the stations via buttons and sensors and passes the information on to a processing sketch. All stations are color and icon coded. The itinerary is saved so that an individual review can be printed at the end. The final explanation is provided by fold-out silhouettes that adapt the standardized view of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man and provide information about all the stations.


The final evaluation showed the potential of the concept and the interplay of the two formats to communicate information, raise awareness and strengthen health literacy through a playful and interactive approach.

A qualitative survey was conducted in two test groups and the UEQ-S questionnaire was completed to identify potentials and weaknesses and to evaluate the three use cases.

For the future, it would be particularly useful to implement the course for several people at the same time, while the card set provides a good framework for adding new examples.