Empowering users with the tools to improve patient accountability
MEDIQ is a mobile medication management app. Using the app, users can better educate themselves on their medication through easy to read digestible content and set up reminders to stay on track with medication administration.
Scoping the Problem
Approximately 43% of Canadians exhibit poor medication adherence by not taking their prescribed medication as directed or not taking them at all. This issue affects more than just the individual; it impacts those around them and medical resources.
Yearly estimated impact
The results of the 62 participants from the online survey I conducted falls in line with the statistic. Reasons for the lack of consistency or accountability include forgetfulness, believing they do not require it or situational circumstances. In contrast, user interviews conducted with more long-term medication takers indicated they have better management and adherence with the help of queues and an overall better understanding of the treatment.
Given the two distinct user profiles, how might we help patients start or continue to learn about their medication and maintain their intake schedule to improve their medical adherence?
I created the personas Gerald and Heidi to represent the two audiences identified from the survey results and interview insights: the experienced patient with an established schedule, and the new patient who has not taken medication for an extended period of time before. Despite the vast differences in behaviour between the new and the experienced on how they manage their medication, they have a common goal to take their medication properly to maintain their health.
I focused on specifically the experience the new user Heidi would need to take to implement their medication treatment into their life, there were areas of opportunity that can be realized during the "Understanding" and "Administering" phase to help her transition easily and become self sufficient without depending on aids. This is also applicable to the more experienced user Gerald; where opportunities can be found to be a reminder or book of record.
Based on Heidi and her experience, I wrote user stories that reflected the overall process in which a patient would get started on building a routine and tracking their progress consistently. These stories can be divided into the following categories: logging, management, and notification.
I decided to focus the primary task flow on the process to add and setup a medication schedule to users schedule from the management stories. This task is vital because it is the first step the users would need to complete before they are able to start tracking their progress.
A secondary task was later included that dealt with the second part of the journey when the user begins logging their progress and maintaining their schedule.
Concept sketches followed the primary task flow to display the layout of content and actions the user will need to take to create a medication schedule/reminder. Certain design choices such as the use of material design cards and FAB buttons were driven from my inspiration board.
Two rounds of user testing were completed with 5 testers in the first round and 6 different testers in the second round. Their feedback was pivotal in identifying concepts and elements that required improvement or removal. An additional task was included to the second round testing to assess the later added secondary task flow.
Concept Sketches → Version 1
I have made several design changes during the process of converting the sketches to version 1 of my mid-fidelity wireframes. The main reason for the changes was for consistency and to adhere to material design guidelines. I have decided to include expansion cards to reduce clutter and provide users the ability to hide information they don't want to see.
- Introduction of expansion cards to reduce clutter and improve readability by allowing users to hide and show what they want
Version 1 → Version 2
Users from the first round of user testing were confused about the meaning/intention of certain icons and field labels; they interpreted it in a different way from what I assumed. Another issue was the medication information they were looking for was either inadequate, not what they were looking for, or not in the order of importance they believed should be.
Based on this feedback, the prioritized list of notable user improvements made for version 2.
- Appended additional info such as dosage and instructions to each medication instance that users want to see
- Relabelled the FAB icon from a "pill" to a "plus" to mitigate confusion of what the button does
- Added a calendar icon to allow user to go to a specific date and see the schedule (past or future) without the need to scroll through the carousel
- Included a screen for the navigation drawer so users are able to find additional features
- Revised the list of categories in the medication details and the information hierarchy based on the feedback on what is most important to the users
- Repurposed the “Dosage” field and introduced a new input field for the “Frequency”. This is to align what the user understands "dosage" is; measurement of the medication, not the quantity they need to take
- Increased input field padding and length
- Updated camera icon to better reflect what the intended action the user should expect; to add a personal picture of the medication
In addition, I added an additional user flow where the user will be notified when it is time to take their medication and their verification when completed. The user can verify their completion either through the notification on the lock screen or by swiping the schedule instance to the right on the app.
Version 2 → Version 3
Issues found from the first round of usability testing was resolved in the second round. The swiping mechanic introduced for the secondary user flow was not intuitive, hence a majority of the testers had difficulty completing the task. Because of this, the following major change was made for version 3.
- Included an additional method for user to verify their completion
- Going into the schedule instance
- Included an additional checkmark on home screen to indicate to users that the particular instance is marked complete. This is to resolve accessibility issues with using only colour as a state indication.
I approached all the UI design decisions based on the principle that it had to be clean and minimalistic. From the design, I wanted to convey to the user how easy and stress-free it can be on building the habit to take their medication correctly. Blue was selected as the primary palette to reflect these values because it is commonly used in the healthcare industry and is associated with knowledge, tranquility, security, and trust.
To complement the colour palette, the clean sans serif typefaces help structure the organized information without feeling too restricted. It also matches the consistency of the concise information presented without compromising legibility.
MEDIQ was chosen as the brand name because it is a combination of the words medical and IQ. I wanted the brand to be the source of knowledge that helps the user improve their medical IQ and adherence. The pill was selected as part of the wordmark and logo to represent medication. The pill was designed in a single line to symbolize that there are no short cuts to improving your health.
I further developed my product's brand by creating a responsive marketing website for both desktop and mobile. I established continuity with the product by being concise with the narrative and simplistic on the website design. Just like the mobile application, I used blue as the primary colour to instill trust.
Exploration beyond the mobile environment
If there is an opportunity to bring MEDIQ onto another platform, it would be on wearables. The rising prominence of smartwatches makes it an ideal platform for individuals who have a busy lifestyle or on the go. It is easier to access and is a much more efficient method to stay on track and log progress without the need to take out your phone. With just a tap on the wrist, and you are good to go!
It has been a challenging yet exciting project with a lot to take away from. Going through the design process has helped me develop my UX design mindset and technical skills that I will continue to use throughout my career.
Designing with intent
The heart of UX is to design with the intent of solving a user's need or problem. Aesthetics come afterwards and should not compromise the experience.
Design is a
How one user uses the product may differ from one another. Collaboration and feedback is important to avoid biases.
Design is an
New technologies continue to emerge, and user behaviours will change. Designs must follow the trend, so it is vital to keep the product up to date.
Looking into the future
The next step to improving patient accountability is to involve healthcare professionals and allow them to be a part of the journey. Expanding the capabilities of MEDIQ to the healthcare network would give doctors qualitative data and insight into a patient’s progress, which may be beneficial in adjusting/tailoring one’s treatment.