Development & Outcomes: Thesis Phase II
Development & Outcomes: Thesis Phase II
Exploring how design and digital interactive technology assists in the communication of health information in the context of missed oral contraceptive pills
This graduate thesis is a holistic research and development endeavor that used a human-centered design approach to explore how digital interactive technology can aid in the communication of health information. Specifically, in the context of missed pills in oral contraceptive information.
The main outcome is a proposed digital interface interaction model that focuses on direct manipulation interfaces, representation aiding (pill package and inserts) and tailored cause and effect results seeking to more effectively personalize and communicate medication information.
The implementation of the proposed model is portrayed on a prototyped product solution that was guided by research into previous studies, user needs, behaviors and goals. The prototype embodies a smartphone webpage evaluated by users through an iterative design process.
The thesis process was divided in two phases. Phase I was about defining the problem, framing the process, initial research and analysis. Phase II was about development and process outcomes. Phase I is described here. Phase II is described below.
ROLE | Design strategy, research and development
DATE | 2015 to 2017
Iterative Prototype Development and User Evaluation
The prototype design concept development was done through multiple iterations. The initial product concept was developed by using research results from Phase I as guidelines (Persona, maps, charts, design criteria etc.), along with the acquired knowledge of interface design, health literacy and oral contraceptives.
The initial prototype design concept involved a website accessed via smartphones. This website would be accessed by users after they missed one or more pills.
The 17 participants of the preliminary focus group sessions were invited to participate in the follow-up evaluation study. Five participants agreed to participate in the three follow up sessions.
The user evaluation process was broken into three different sessions that allowed users to provide feedback on different prototype iterations presented to them.The first session involved a paper prototype, the second session a smartphone prototype, and the third session a prototype scenario and product video.
After each session, the feedback was analyzed and used to revise the prototype to produce the next iteration to be evaluated.
For the paper prototype session, the goals were to understand if the participant would use the proposed idea and their assessment of the design information visualization.
For the second session, the prototype presented would be in digital format and the participant interacted with it through a smartphone (iPhone 6). This interaction would provide a more accurate representation of the product to participants, since it reflects more closely the context of use: a smartphone with a digital interface. The goals for the smartphone prototype session were to understand if a participant would use the proposed idea and to understand the usability of the interface by asking participants to complete five given tasks.
For the scenario and product video session, the goals were to understand if the participant would use the proposed design idea and if there were any further recommendations. Participants received an email with a video link and a questionnaire link.
The video portrayed the enacted context scenario and the detailed interactions for the proposed design.
The designer made the video by developing the narrative for it, collaborating with a cinematographer and actress to acquire some of the assets for the production, designing the product interactions and then assembling all of it. After participants watched the video they responded to the questionnaire.
Problem Overview and Proposed Design Product Scenario
I made the video to communicate through visual storytelling the problem overview that the thesis project was addressing and the proposed product scenario to solve it. The assets for the scenario part of the video were reused and slightly modified from the product scenario presented to users during the third evaluation session. I produced the remaining assets in collaboration with a narrator.
The proposed product solution addresses all the information presented in the patient package insert and presents it in an innovative way. Some of the benefits include:
- reliable brand-specific pill information,
- anonymous and immediate user access,
- tailored information for specific user needs, and
- visualization of written information.
It is important to clarify that this product does not provide answers for all different type of scenarios when women miss pills and it is not aimed at replacing the in-person communication between patients and health care professionals. There are user-specific scenarios that only health care professionals should address.
The product intends to provide the information from an existing and important source in a way that is more accessible to meet users’ needs to improve their health literacy about the medication.
From the prototype evaluations, all participants expressed the need for the product and the likelihood of using it if available. This response demonstrates that the proposed product design has promise and has the likelihood to have an impact on the user group because it is in alignment with their needs and expectations.
The proposed solution can be implemented by oral contraceptive manufacturers to provide users of the medication reliable brand specific pill information.
Digital Interface Interaction Model
The proposed product solution demonstrates the implementation of the interaction model, which focuses on presenting information through digital interactive screen based interfaces.
It employs strategies like representation aiding (pill pack and patient package insert) for problem solving, direct manipulation interfaces, and tailored cause and effect relationships seeking to more effectively communicate medication information to meet users’ needs.
The use of the interaction model can be expanded to different brands of oral contraceptives as well as to other types of information communication challenges that include the following characteristics:
- a dynamic, tailored cause and effect relationship around information; and
- a relationship between the information presented and physical object/s.
The thesis document includes the detailed explanation of this comprehensive research and development exploration. It will soon be published and accessible to the general public.