Take That Pill is a somehow ironical but critical concept concerning medical drug consumption and the health economy. It is the outcome of a two-weeks project I completed with a friend.
Today names like „Xanax“, „Ibu“ or „Aspirin“ are common in daily conversations. „You don’t feel well? Take an Ibu…“. Our health seems to be important to us in a way that leads to medicine becoming daily used terms. The health economy even supports this process by clever marketing and by keeping possible risks at a low profile. In many cases drugs help us bear with sickness and may even be life saving. Sometimes, however, drugs are used empty-headed or as a social custom. It can be a narrow path between the good and not-so-good use of medical products. And it requires a cautious, yet critical discussion when giving recommendations about their usage.
Mid 2016 I took part in a workshop on methods used in health technology. In a short research phase a friend and I discovered a video by Vox on drug commercials in the US. It inspired us to think about common prescriptive drug usage. Usually a doctor limits the supply. Yet, once a patient leaves the doctor's office there is no permanent reminder and advisor present. Using existing reminder apps seemed inappropriate to us because they miss an intelligent and medical oriented assistant that reduces unnecessary drug doses.
The patient may also be influenced by ads that play down side-effects. In a quickly drawn concept we envisioned a health app that not just acts as a pill-reminder, but gives expedient recommendations on a healthy and low risk consumption, too.
Wire-frames and prototypes
Our first drafts were refined by creating wire-frames using Sketch. This step helped us identify problems in our preliminary user-flow. We furthermore identified app-specific user needs such as giving information at the right time and allowing for input where needed. With a series of paper prototypes we iterated our concept and received user input from people we asked for help.
The final concept combines bold colors with a strong typography, while showing a clean and light layout. We chose this visual language in order to be able to present urgent notifications, yet stay modest and clear for the looks of a serious health app. The major design elements are slow turning pills that change their appearance according to the real drug. This creates a link between the patient's drugs and the digital diary.
Semantic UI elements
In the process of the visual design we wondered how specific UI elements need to be designed so that users enjoy using the app. We wondered how they could perceive the right message. Which colors have to be used to warn the user, how can a standard „That’s fine“ look like? Can animations help the user keep track of drug consumption over a longer period of time?
Serve user needs
The user will see a differently colored background, based on their drug consumption and general health recommendations. The app allows to easily keep track of a series of drugs - new ones can be added by simply scanning in a bar code. A personal profile matches the ideal dosage to the user.
The personal profile supports the user’s needs of not just tracking, but warning in critical situations, too. Pop-ups remind the user if a drug has been taken too many times or when the recommended period has been exceeded. Easy to reach statistics provide additional individual and medical information.
One ad against them all
At the end of our concept we created a short clip that focuses on the subject of a seemingly endless pill consumption. The app appears at the end and suggests some kind of retainer for the pills that restrains the consumption. We received positive feedback when we showed the video to different participants of the workshop. We even thought about realising the critical concept, however, for a serious health app a lot of crucial work still needs to be done.