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Designing effective medicine labels
for senior citizens in Hong Kong




Brian Kwok and Keith Tam

Information Design Lab
School of Design, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

13 April 2012
Information Design Conference · Greenwich, UK


© Information Design Lab, Hong Kong Polytechnic University 2012
The population is rapidly ageing in Hong Kong


              10
                                                                  8.89 million


               8                                                                       2,489,984
                                                                                       28% of total
                       7 million
                                                                                       population
Hong Kong                                   910,481                                    65 years and older
population     6                            13% of total
  (million)                                 population
                                            65 years and older

               4




               2




               0                                                                        year
                             2009                                 2039 projected


Source: Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department, Hong Kong Population Projections 2010–2039
Media reports on the existing medicine label design




Source: Age-friendly medicine label survey reported by Sik Sik Yuen
2010 age-friendly medicine label survey


Of the 569 senior respondents . . .
• 96% felt that the type sizes were too small

• 90% suggested that symbols could be used as reminders
  for times and dosages
• 84% requested descriptions of drugs’ shapes
  and colours




Source: Age-friendly medicine label survey reported by Sik Sik Yuen
Main barriers of communication with older people in
the visual presentation of information (WHO)
• Font sizes on text materials are too small to read

• Medicine labels are hard to decipher

• Page layouts are often confusing

• Too much information in small spaces




Global age-friendly cities guide, 2007, p.63
Three types of medicine labels in Hong Kong



Hospital Authority                       Private clinics




Health Department
Hospital Authority medicine label from 1982 (still in current use)




     Precautions                                        Quantity of drug
   Name of drug
                                                        Abbreviated drug name
Dosage & method

     Precautions

 Name of patient                                        Date of dispensing

   Name of clinic                                       Codes for internal use
Information listed on the medicine label


1 Name of patient

2 Date of dispensing

3 Address of clinical hospital and name of doctor

4 Trade name or pharmacological name of drug

5 Dosage

6 Method of administration

7 Safety precautions




.
Comparing medicine labels from different countries
Objectives


• Understand the daily lives of the elderly and observe how
  the local older patients take their medicines
• Identify the problems of existing labels on medicines
  distributed in Hong Kong’s public hospitals
• Develop a patient-centered design approach by designing
  a new series of medicine labels
• Explore new possibilities in label design for improving
  accessibility, comprehensibility and usability to the
  elderly



.
1                                   2
Legibility tests conducted by the   Redesigning medicine labels as
Information Design Lab              an undergraduate class project
1 Legibility tests by IDL




Variables tested
• Typefaces
• Type sizes
• Colours
• Information prioritisation
• Spatial organisation
Seniors aged 60–84 at a community centre for seniors
Observations at the seniors’ homes


• Many do not know much about the medicine and its side effects
• Main concerns are dosage and method of administration
• Mostly rely on memory instead of reading the label
• Precautions and expiry dates are easily overlooked
• Many reorganised their medicine in their own ways
• Many recognise medicine by shape and colour of containers
• Many preserve leftover medicine in refrigerator
Information searching

12 participants were asked to
search for phrases on several
labels. Durations were recorded.     Search phrases           B&W   Colour


t
                                         Expired date


                                      Name of hospital


                                   Method of administration


                                           Dosages
7A1

                                     Quantity of drug


                                         Precautions


                                      Name of patient


                                      Functions of drug
5A3
Prototype combinations development

This matrix was used to develop 18 prototype combinations based on
the interrelationships between colour, type size, typeface and leading
Black and white prototypes: 1 Kai / 2 Song / 3 Hei

12 point                14 point                     16 point
Colour prototypes: 1 Kai / 2 Song / 3 Hei

Colour for dividing line   Colour for patient name   Colour for dosage
Prototype rating
Finding the best one amongst the prototypes
Prioritisation of information
Information chunking
Information chunking
Information organisation
Information organisation
Four types of information groupings and prioritisations

1   Patient information
2   Medical information
3   Precautions
4   Clinical information
Typeface preferences




         字體            Kai
                       (calligraphic)
                                        75.4%

         字體            Song
                       (seriffed)        80.7%

         字體            Hei
                       (sanserif)       82.0% ✔
Chinese versus Arabic numerals

Many Chinese numerals share similar strokes
and therefore less distinctive than Arabic
numerals at a glance



         一 二 三 五 六
          1            2              3    5   6
每日三次,每次一粒                                 每日3次,每次1粒
(3 times a day, one pill each time)                ✔
Date formats




                              
4 / 12 / 2012   4–12–2012




                              
                                    Both British and American
                                    date formats are used in
                                    Hong Kong
12 / 4 / 2012   12–4–2012

2012 / 4 / 12

二零⼀一二年四月十二日

2012 年 4 月 12 日    ✔
16pt for main information, others no smaller than 8pt


     Precautions                                        Quantity of drug
   Name of drug
                                                        Abbreviated drug name
Dosage & method

     Precautions

 Name of patient                                        Date of dispensing

   Name of clinic                                       Codes for internal use
Spatial arrangement



             Clinical Information   Patient Information

             Medicine Information   Precautions
More variables to be tested . . .


• Portrait versus landscape format

• Accommodating varied content

• Label sizes for various types of medicine containers

• Test for other stakeholders




.
2 Student assignment




30 students from the Visual Communication
Design undergraduate programme
participated in the project
Student participation


• Started in November 2011
• Over a period of two semesters
• Higher diploma and degree students
• 80 design students participated
• 75 user tests in total
Test participants

More than 70 senior participants with chronic illnesses

70–85 years old

Three categories of participants
• Normal eye sight
• Little to no education
• Visually impaired
Card sorting

To understand how the
elderly participants organise
information
儷黑 Pro 14pt
Typeface and type size testing                                                      Andale Mono 6pt




                                                                                    儷黑 Pro 8pt
儷黑 Pro 12pt
                儷黑 Pro 12pt                                                                           儷黑 Pro 10pt
儷黑 Pro 10pt
                儷黑 Pro 14pt                                                                           Andale Mono 6pt

                                                                      儷黑 Pro 12pt

                                                                      儷黑 Pro 14pt

儷黑 Pro 11pt                         儷黑 Pro 7pt                                                        儷黑 Pro 8pt
儷黑 Pro 15pt 儷黑 Pro 12pt


儷黑 Pro 11pt 儷黑 Pro 10pt                                               儷黑 Pro 12pt


                                                                      儷黑 Pro 10pt
儷黑 Pro 10pt


                 儷黑 Pro 11pt                     儷黑 Pro 7pt
                                                   儷黑 Pro 8pt         儷黑 Pro 11pt
Andale Mono   7pt儷黑 Pro 15pt                                                                                   儷黑 Pro 7pt
                                                                      儷黑 Pro 15pt
儷黑 Pro 12pt
                                                    儷黑 Pro 15pt
儷黑 Pro 1pt 儷黑 Pro 11pt                                                儷黑 Pro 11pt


                                                                      儷黑 Pro 10pt
儷黑 Pro 10pt 儷黑 Pro 10pt
                                                    儷黑 Pro 8pt

                                                                                                                            儷
                                                                      Andale Mono   7pt
                                                                  儷黑 Pro 8pt
                Andale Mono   7pt                                     儷黑 Pro 12pt
                                                                                                                            儷
                儷黑 Pro 12pt                                           儷黑 Pro 1pt
Symbol testing
Symbol testing
Colour testing
Label orientation testing
Students’ prototypes
Students’ prototypes
Students’ prototypes
Students’ prototypes
Students’ prototypes
Students’ prototypes
Damien Hirst   Image 2 caption
For more information, please visit
www.infodesignlab.org




Brian Kwok brian@infodesignlab.org
Keith Tam  keith@infodesignlab.org

www.infodesignlab.org
@infodesignlab




© Information Design Lab, Hong Kong Polytechnic University 2012

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Designing effective medicine labels for senior citizens in Hong Kong

  • 1. Designing effective medicine labels for senior citizens in Hong Kong Brian Kwok and Keith Tam Information Design Lab School of Design, Hong Kong Polytechnic University 13 April 2012 Information Design Conference · Greenwich, UK © Information Design Lab, Hong Kong Polytechnic University 2012
  • 2. The population is rapidly ageing in Hong Kong 10 8.89 million 8 2,489,984 28% of total 7 million population Hong Kong 910,481 65 years and older population 6 13% of total (million) population 65 years and older 4 2 0 year 2009 2039 projected Source: Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department, Hong Kong Population Projections 2010–2039
  • 3. Media reports on the existing medicine label design Source: Age-friendly medicine label survey reported by Sik Sik Yuen
  • 4. 2010 age-friendly medicine label survey Of the 569 senior respondents . . . • 96% felt that the type sizes were too small • 90% suggested that symbols could be used as reminders for times and dosages • 84% requested descriptions of drugs’ shapes and colours Source: Age-friendly medicine label survey reported by Sik Sik Yuen
  • 5. Main barriers of communication with older people in the visual presentation of information (WHO) • Font sizes on text materials are too small to read • Medicine labels are hard to decipher • Page layouts are often confusing • Too much information in small spaces Global age-friendly cities guide, 2007, p.63
  • 6. Three types of medicine labels in Hong Kong Hospital Authority Private clinics Health Department
  • 7. Hospital Authority medicine label from 1982 (still in current use) Precautions Quantity of drug Name of drug Abbreviated drug name Dosage & method Precautions Name of patient Date of dispensing Name of clinic Codes for internal use
  • 8. Information listed on the medicine label 1 Name of patient 2 Date of dispensing 3 Address of clinical hospital and name of doctor 4 Trade name or pharmacological name of drug 5 Dosage 6 Method of administration 7 Safety precautions .
  • 9. Comparing medicine labels from different countries
  • 10. Objectives • Understand the daily lives of the elderly and observe how the local older patients take their medicines • Identify the problems of existing labels on medicines distributed in Hong Kong’s public hospitals • Develop a patient-centered design approach by designing a new series of medicine labels • Explore new possibilities in label design for improving accessibility, comprehensibility and usability to the elderly .
  • 11. 1 2 Legibility tests conducted by the Redesigning medicine labels as Information Design Lab an undergraduate class project
  • 12. 1 Legibility tests by IDL Variables tested • Typefaces • Type sizes • Colours • Information prioritisation • Spatial organisation
  • 13. Seniors aged 60–84 at a community centre for seniors
  • 14. Observations at the seniors’ homes • Many do not know much about the medicine and its side effects • Main concerns are dosage and method of administration • Mostly rely on memory instead of reading the label • Precautions and expiry dates are easily overlooked • Many reorganised their medicine in their own ways • Many recognise medicine by shape and colour of containers • Many preserve leftover medicine in refrigerator
  • 15. Information searching 12 participants were asked to search for phrases on several labels. Durations were recorded. Search phrases B&W Colour t Expired date Name of hospital Method of administration Dosages 7A1 Quantity of drug Precautions Name of patient Functions of drug 5A3
  • 16. Prototype combinations development This matrix was used to develop 18 prototype combinations based on the interrelationships between colour, type size, typeface and leading
  • 17. Black and white prototypes: 1 Kai / 2 Song / 3 Hei 12 point 14 point 16 point
  • 18. Colour prototypes: 1 Kai / 2 Song / 3 Hei Colour for dividing line Colour for patient name Colour for dosage
  • 20. Finding the best one amongst the prototypes
  • 26. Four types of information groupings and prioritisations 1 Patient information 2 Medical information 3 Precautions 4 Clinical information
  • 27. Typeface preferences 字體 Kai (calligraphic) 75.4% 字體 Song (seriffed) 80.7% 字體 Hei (sanserif) 82.0% ✔
  • 28. Chinese versus Arabic numerals Many Chinese numerals share similar strokes and therefore less distinctive than Arabic numerals at a glance 一 二 三 五 六 1 2 3 5 6 每日三次,每次一粒 每日3次,每次1粒 (3 times a day, one pill each time) ✔
  • 29. Date formats    4 / 12 / 2012 4–12–2012   Both British and American date formats are used in Hong Kong 12 / 4 / 2012 12–4–2012 2012 / 4 / 12 二零⼀一二年四月十二日 2012 年 4 月 12 日 ✔
  • 30. 16pt for main information, others no smaller than 8pt Precautions Quantity of drug Name of drug Abbreviated drug name Dosage & method Precautions Name of patient Date of dispensing Name of clinic Codes for internal use
  • 31. Spatial arrangement Clinical Information Patient Information Medicine Information Precautions
  • 32. More variables to be tested . . . • Portrait versus landscape format • Accommodating varied content • Label sizes for various types of medicine containers • Test for other stakeholders .
  • 33. 2 Student assignment 30 students from the Visual Communication Design undergraduate programme participated in the project
  • 34. Student participation • Started in November 2011 • Over a period of two semesters • Higher diploma and degree students • 80 design students participated • 75 user tests in total
  • 35. Test participants More than 70 senior participants with chronic illnesses 70–85 years old Three categories of participants • Normal eye sight • Little to no education • Visually impaired
  • 36. Card sorting To understand how the elderly participants organise information
  • 37. 儷黑 Pro 14pt Typeface and type size testing Andale Mono 6pt 儷黑 Pro 8pt 儷黑 Pro 12pt 儷黑 Pro 12pt 儷黑 Pro 10pt 儷黑 Pro 10pt 儷黑 Pro 14pt Andale Mono 6pt 儷黑 Pro 12pt 儷黑 Pro 14pt 儷黑 Pro 11pt 儷黑 Pro 7pt 儷黑 Pro 8pt 儷黑 Pro 15pt 儷黑 Pro 12pt 儷黑 Pro 11pt 儷黑 Pro 10pt 儷黑 Pro 12pt 儷黑 Pro 10pt 儷黑 Pro 10pt 儷黑 Pro 11pt 儷黑 Pro 7pt 儷黑 Pro 8pt 儷黑 Pro 11pt Andale Mono 7pt儷黑 Pro 15pt 儷黑 Pro 7pt 儷黑 Pro 15pt 儷黑 Pro 12pt 儷黑 Pro 15pt 儷黑 Pro 1pt 儷黑 Pro 11pt 儷黑 Pro 11pt 儷黑 Pro 10pt 儷黑 Pro 10pt 儷黑 Pro 10pt 儷黑 Pro 8pt 儷 Andale Mono 7pt 儷黑 Pro 8pt Andale Mono 7pt 儷黑 Pro 12pt 儷 儷黑 Pro 12pt 儷黑 Pro 1pt
  • 48. Damien Hirst Image 2 caption
  • 49. For more information, please visit www.infodesignlab.org Brian Kwok brian@infodesignlab.org Keith Tam keith@infodesignlab.org www.infodesignlab.org @infodesignlab © Information Design Lab, Hong Kong Polytechnic University 2012