Complex prescription apps are contributing to epidemic levels of non-adherence. Sphere Pharmacy is designed to see a measurable increase in adherence and improvement in patient health.
Over the years I’ve had my share of poor experiences with the pharmacy industry. Between late deliveries, lack of communication and long wait times, I was frustrated. In late 2017 I took this on as a personal project to explore solutions that could repair the broken pharmacy experience.View Prototype View Redlines
Use of mobile pill reminders improves adherence by a minimum of 12.3%. An efficient and transparent pharmacy creates an additional increase in patient adherence.
Research gathered from my survey of 55 participants, and supplemental studies show the average American takes at least one prescription, is non-adherent 1–4 times a month, prefers non-physical contact with pharmacists, and wants clear communication during the order process.
of respondents take generic or specialty prescriptions
forget to take their medication 3-4 times a month
refill their medication online or via a phone call
worry about running out with one week or less remaining
CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, and Kaiser Permanente market their apps to the growing senior population in the United States. However, recent findings suggest present-day solutions to mobile digital health does not improve the health of seniors. According to research, a younger demographic is more likely to adopt health apps. Reducing Spheres target demographic to 25–45 allows for the adoption of the app in the short term while still positioning Sphere towards the growing senior population long term.
seniors by 2020
seniors by 2050
of seniors own a smartphone
of seniors refill online or mobile
I interviewed a group of participants from my survey to understand their motivations, goals, and frustrations better. The primary user personas for Sphere were Madelyn S. and Nate V. The final user persona is Sean, our free user. Sean takes the occasional allergy pill and wants to set reminders. The free persona was used to evaluate the features used without an account. Helping to build trust before gathering personal and private medical information.
Organize - Relief
45 years old, Accountant
"A smooth refill process that finished quickly would let me spend more quality time with my daughter."
Automate - Forget
33 years old, Designer
"I would love to have my medications refilled on their own and only have to change minor things like my account settings."
To simplify processes for pharmacy patients, I asked myself two essential questions:
A study conducted by the NCBI discovered time to manually enter data, hidden costs, and apps being confusing to use as the top reasons for non-use or discontinuing use. Therefore, I created user stories and flows with a goal of reducing processes down to the bare minimum. Adding on carefully and only when necessary.
Giving users the ability to experience pill reminders without an account would help build trust. However, if one of the most straightforward features didn’t work correctly, there would be no reason to onboard and use Sphere as their pharmacy.
I gathered feedback from potential users on the low-fidelity versions of pill reminders, onboarding, and main navigation screens.
One of the challenges I faced was the massive amount of medical information. For that reason, I dedicated most of my time to the information architecture above. I initiated that in the design phase by starting with black and white designs and moving quickly to color which helped drive the project forward.
I ran an A/B test on the Today and Prescriptions screens to assist in guiding the design of other aspects of the app. Although Option B was selected 80% of the time I took note of elements of the white design along with other issues I spotted to create a stronger more cohesive design.
Cards - Users preferred rounded cards for feeling more friendly and trustworthy.
Blue header - Kept the page grounded with stronger hierarchy.
Button layout -Placement of buttons were more reachable touch targets but blocked additional prescriptions from being displayed.
I made revisions to the card style and placement of buttons. I also started bringing more consistency to the onboarding experience by expanding the blue header to take the entire screen and utilizing the same heading and paragraph style used throughout the application.
I attended several critiques led by a senior designer. Although I iterated on issues from the previous usability and A/B testing there were still major concerns with the prescriptions screen.
Buttons - No way for a user to add a new prescription to Sphere.
Patient and doctor names - Issue with perfect data. Half the content below the prescription title would break the design. In addition, there might be an opportunity to group patients.
Prescription names - Longer medication names will run into the status buttons. Will the prescriptions truncate or drop to two lines?
Buttons -Added new prescriptions tab and screen (see further below)
Patient and doctor names - Grouping of patient names on top of the cards. Moved patient and doctor names to the prescription details screen.
Prescription names -Longer prescription names drop to 2 lines and truncate beyond that.
I tested in person with potential patients in tandem with design critiques. I found a need for the following:
Based on the feedback I received from the usability test I iterated on some of the screens below.
After resolving a majority of pain points, I was encouraged by senior designers to tackle success/error screens, input feedback, notifications, and blank states. I also revised the order screen created illustrated icons used in the error and success states.
I stepped away from the designs to wrap up the project and decide on a name. I created a mindmap and settled on Sphere while working alongside a senior designer. After reaching the final design I built out a branding style guide, Sketch component system, and illustrated for onboarding and success/error screens. The logo typeface is Futura while the product typeface aligns with the HIG.
Working on Sphere Pharmacy forced me to think about the impact of my design decisions. One of the most valuable insights I had was to be ok with not getting it right the first time. By failing earlier, you can reduce how you impact users. Being willing to continuously cycle back through with users and stay genuinely interested in how your design breaks are crucial.
I also learned a lot about maintaining consistency and communication throughout a product. Not only does it ease user expectations it builds trust and makes an app worth using.
Lastly, although this was a personal project I learned a lot about not working in a silo. I made it a point to reach out to my community of designers for critique and communicating with users to drive the product forward.