Information design should provide understanding, not create overwhelm.
Medical products are notorious for overloading people with confusing, overly-complex and overwhelming information - often leading to the misuse of the product. Pregnancy tests are one of these confusing products, with the added stress of the huge implications its outcome could have on the user. Well considered information design lies in the core of creating understanding.
To redesign the pregnancy test’s packaging so that it would be digestible and clear we put the user at the centre. Many rounds of prototypes, user testing, and revisions were undertaken until we were left with a product that gently guided the user through the process. A key aspect of our final design revolves around the idea of immediacy, meaning that the users engage with the relevant information at the point of contact. Information was also visualised where possible through the use of iconography and diagrams.
Wellington, New Zealand
We were tasked with redesigning the packaging of an over-the-counter medicine so that the user can confidently and correctly use the product, and feel prepared for any scenario. This was to be developed through a human-centred approach, putting our user at the centre of the design process through various testing and revision techniques.
Medical products are often misused or misunderstood due to poor communication of information. We chose to redesign a pregnancy test, as we found this product particularly confusing as it overloads the user with unnecessary and difficult to navigate information. Pregnancy tests are a single use products that could potentially alter the life of an individual forever. We see the significance of a pregnancy test for the emotive responses it affords, as well as the stigma that is sometimes attached to it – depending on the generation and circumstance of the user. Our aim with this redesign was to not only promote more clarity with the instructions of using this product, but also the overall flavour and emotional tendencies associated with it.
Our main directives with redesigning this test was to reduce the information to the essentials, have a strong focus on user journey with information accompanying the most immediate actions of the user at the time, and finally using user tests to guide our design. These user tests were undertaken on three types of people: those who had used a pregnancy test, those who hadn’t, and males – most of which had never seen a pregnancy test. (We also decided on the latter as we assumed if males with no pregnancy test experience could understand the information layout then anyone could.)
To break down the large amount of content on the original packaging we underwent a card sorting process. This allowed us to identify what information was important, what was repetitive and where possible confusion could be caused. It also helped us to categorise the information and develop a hierarchy of significance.
Using the card sorting exercise we developed our first prototype. We then underwent a series of user tests. These involved guiding a user through a possible scenario involving the test and observing their interactions with it - especially in regards to where they struggled to find information or where they made a mistake in the use. We tested multiple people of different genders and ages. We also included scenarios with complications, such as having the user hypothetically be on birth control.
From these observations the prototype was revised, improved and then retested. We repeated this process 4 times until we reached our final product.
A key aspect of our final design revolves around the idea of immediacy, meaning that the users engage with the relevant information at the point of contact. For example, on the pouch containing the pregnancy test there are two key warnings, not to touch the result window (emphasised through icons and a red accent) and to use the test within one hour after opening seal (positioned by the seal, and reinforced with a secondary red reminder which is revealed once the pouch is opened). Another critical improvement to the original box was to clarify the confusion around when you can test in relation to the time of sex and the missed period. By developing two visual timelines users where able to easily identify whether the test would yield accurate results. We also used icons throughout the designs to help emphasise important information such as to ‘use first morning urine’, as well as in the pamphlet where there was more information. The icons helped to make it more digestible and engaging. A key part of our hierarchy was using the colour red as an accent to pop certain important information and add another level of information. We had a lot of positive comments that its minimal presence was a wise decision to make, because it drew the eyes immediately.
Our main challenge was around reducing the huge amount of information that came with the original test. We combatted this through using card sorting, creating many iterations where we learnt to be more assertive, refining the text further and further. Overall, creating clearer typographic hierarchies and sections, realising that colour made a significant contribution to this factor. Preventing people from touching the result window also proved difficult, as it was mainly an affordance flaw with the product shape encouraging users to hold the stick there. We solved this through our warnings on the pouch, as well as a sticky splash guard to reinforce this.