Diabetes Mellitus is one of the most prevalent diseases in Saudi Arabia affecting children and adults. In theKingdom of Saudi Arabia, a country of over 12 million people, the prevalence of diabetes is on the rise as theresult of urbanization and socioeconomic developments that are associated with lifestyle changes. For the samereason, there is a rise in diabetes in other Middle Eastern countries and in Middle Eastern families in the US.Saudis in other countries remain deeply committed to the cultural values, thus, even as lifestyle changesincrease the prevalence of diabetes, education and support needs to be culturally competent to be effective. Thiswebsite is thus designed to meet cultural needs. Even the name of the site, Sukar Ala Sukar, reflects this; itliterally means sugar over sugar in Arabic but Sukar is also the Arabic term for diabetes, making it a doubleentendre likely to appeal to Saudi children.
Website Design Considerations
The target population of the website is fourth and fifth grade children. This is an age group where children areincreasingly likely to have diabetes, be at risk of developing diabetes, or know people with diabetes. At thesame time, they are old enough to learn from health education and make decisions that influence behavior.Within this population, children differ in significant ways from the perspective of website design: mostimportantly the type of schooling they receive since it influences whether their primary language will beEnglish or Arabic, and gender, since societal norms segregate children and impact access to imagery.Arabic is the official language in Saudi Arabia. Currently, English as a second language is only taught in highschool levels of education. On the other hand, most private schools introduce English classes startingfrom kindergarten level. As a result, there is an inconsistency in English proficiency among students in thecountry. Thus, we have included both English and Arabic components to our website design. By being in bothArabic and English, the website can target both Arabic-only speaking children and English-only speakingchildren. It will also be more acceptable to parents whose primary language is Arabic but whose children arestudying in English.Another design consideration is the cultural limitations of not posting photographs of girls. To address this,website imagery is limited to cartoons rather than photographs to maintain consistency for both boys and girls.Also, out of respect for the culture, we segregate the genders as depicted in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Girls’ & Boys’ Sections