A large pharmaceutical company sought to understand what users of ophthalmological drops need and prefer from the medication and delivery devices (eyedroppers), in order to design a device that improves user experience, delivers value and aids in adherence. This involved understanding the contexts of eye care professionals (ophthalmologists, optometrists, nurses, and technicians) and those suffering from dry eye, glaucoma, and presbyopia.
#research for design
#research through design
What is the nature of the tangible reality of using current eye drop devices?
What are people's design preferences and aspirations related to the use of medication and device form and the use of digital technology?
How can global and regional insights about the limitations of awareness, diagnosis, and treatment of eye conditions inform the design of service experiences of eye medication?
We planned and conducted research in a phased manner across the global markets. Starting with one market in the US, we conducted ethnographic immersions in people's homes and clinics to understand their lived experiences of their condition, their practices, and usage of the device.
I along with a fellow researcher conducted
I led the research design for the generative data gathering activities. Since we knew what kind of product we needed to drive towards, I designed activities that involved hands-on participatory prototyping to encourage research participants to think through design. By manipulating physical material to form their ideal devices, the intention was they would express their pain points, desires, and pain points. Each activity was carefully planned and constructed to ensure that participants were not intimidated by the design process and the activities were appropriately laddered and that could be scaled for global research.
I along with a fellow researcher conducted
Our team of 4 researchers across the 2 US markets gathered the observations across locations, conditions, and professions and performed a thematic analysis using an inductive approach.
We prepared a detailed observations report which served as the baseline for subsequent reports.
I onboarded and managed the research teams based in Japan, Brazil, and China. Since some of these teams were more familiar with traditional market research than ethnographic or design research, I ensured that they had the support they needed before and during conducting research through regularly scheduled touchpoints. I worked on research operations which included managing the data quality and cadence of sharing data, translating design research probes, incorporating changes to the discussion guides and creating templates for data input after each session.
Synthesizing the observations from the individual markets, we created an Insights and Design Principles Report to guide the product engineering team. A few examples of the insights uncovered and design principles derived follow.
Dry eye is a non-medicalized condition with an awareness issue
Those with glaucoma navigate fear and uncertainties without tangible feedback
Presbyopia involves a difficult journey of accepting one's mortality
Issues with shape, size, and usability are barriers to adherence
Fit into people's day to day life and activities
The device should fit into people’s day-to-day routines in a non-interuptive manner and accommodate the various social contexts, places, and spaces they find themselves in.
Provide care beyond symptom relief
The experience should foster self-management efficacy to balance short term symptom relief with long term eye health. The device should support long term behavior change along with day to day support.
Guide peoples' treatment journeys
The experience should support the patient’s care journey - from the moment of diagnosis in the ECP’s office or moments of self-diagnosis, to purchase decision making in the pharmacy, first-time use at home, and continued use in different contexts.
Extend the existing medical ecosystem
The device should integrate with other medications, vision correction solutions, digital technologies, and platforms,
and relationships with eye care professionals instead of adding additional disparate elements to an already fragmented care experience.
Facilitate precise use
Proper dosing and targeting should be inherent in the use of the device and multiple forms of feedback need to be incorporated to reduce ambiguity and inconsistency.
"I thought it was normal and something everyone dealt with so I didn't think about seeing a doctor."
"The hardest part is making sure it gets in your eye. The more often you use the drops and the longer you use it, the harder it gets because of your eye reflex."