Understanding & Designing a Digital Pillbox for Older Adults

Problem Context

Design an appli­ca­tion that serves a user need for a pop­u­la­tion that has acces­si­bil­ity issues or chal­lenges in a Human-Computer Interaction course. Based on the chal­lenge, we brain­stormed about who the pop­u­la­tion should be, and what chal­lenge should be tack­led by the appli­ca­tion. After infor­mal input from poten­tial stake­hold­ers, set­tled on deal­ing with health infor­ma­tion man­age­ment for older adults.

Figuring out what people do

Contextual Inquiry & Task Identification

I per­formed a con­tex­tual inquiry with stake­hold­ers to get a bet­ter idea of what tasks and what issues older adults were hav­ing related to health infor­ma­tion man­age­ment. Next, aggre­gated data and iden­ti­fied com­mon themes/tasks, then scoped the topic specif­i­cally to med­ica­tion man­age­ment based off of data from con­tex­tual inquiry.

Transforming findings into Sketches

Brain­storm­ing, Ini­tial Design Ideas & Sketches

Based on our com­mon tasks and themes iden­ti­fied from the con­tex­tual inquiry, came up with a few ini­tial ideas on an appli­ca­tion that would ease frus­tra­tion and allow com­ple­tion of the main tasks identified.

Turning Ideas into Stories


Sto­ry­boards were gen­er­ated to show a clear pro­gres­sion of how the med­ica­tion man­age­ment appli­ca­tion would be used, plac­ing an empha­sis on con­text of how and when the design idea for the appli­ca­tion would be used.

Testing the Proposed Design

Wire­frames, Low-fidelity Pro­to­types & User Test­ing

After addi­tional feed­back from stake­hold­ers, we set­tled on an initial design idea and cre­ated wire­frames, then low-fidelity pro­to­types of Dig­i­tal Pill­box. These low-fidelity pro­to­types were then user-tested with a dif­fer­ent set of stake­hold­ers, to get feed­back via a think-aloud pro­to­col when com­plet­ing tasks. Feed­back was incor­po­rated to iter­ate on the design.

Moving from Paper to Digital Prototypes

Inter­ac­tive Dig­i­tal Pro­to­type & User Test­ing

After iter­at­ing the design, an inter­ac­tive low-fidelity dig­i­tal pro­to­type was gen­er­ated. This pro­to­type was once again user-tested with stake­hold­ers via a think-aloud pro­to­col as they com­pleted tasks. A touch­screen device was used to bet­ter sim­u­late the pro­posed use of Dig­i­tal Pill­box on a mobile device.

Presenting the Results

Pre­sen­ta­tion of Process & Results

After user test­ing with the inter­ac­tive pro­to­type, I designed the pre­sen­ta­tion was to out­line the process and how the Dig­i­tal Pill­box design came to this point, starting from the context, through the contextual inquiry, design, prototyping and iteration.

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Jonathan Joe

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Department of Biomedical Informatics & Medical Education
School of Medicine
University of Washington
UW Box BIME-SLU 358047
Seattle, WA 98195