top of page

Medicine Compliance for Gen X - User Research

Integrated Product Development


MY ROLE (helped with all)


Secondary research

Questionnaires & Interviews 

Cultural probes & Co-design

Usability Testing

Compliling report



Secondary Research

Questionnaires and Interviews

Cultural Probes and Co-design

Usability Testing

Gathering insights





Team Project


2 months





Ankita Arvind

Christopher Holliday

Michael Li

Vanessa Li

Extensive user research to find out the issues that people in Generation-X have with Medicine Compliance.


Generation X-ers (ages 34-50) have trouble taking their medicine regularly and in a timely manner. We, as a team of four, delved into the depths of this problem to find out WHY?


Through the process of design research, we gathered interesting insights and found patterns that could yield ideas in the future. We concluded this research with some guidelines for designing products that are targetted at solving this issue.




Why is it important?

Medicine noncompliance costs Americans $100 - $298 billion/year and additionally non-compliance prolongs treatment and involves unnecessary medication changes.



Providing Context




Landscape of current solutions




Primary Research - Process




Key Insights




Most people in Generation X have busy schedules and they tend to forget to take their medicine on time.




People are concerned about the side effects of taking medication.


People have stopped taking a prescription early after seeing signs of getting better.


Cultural Probes & Co-Design




There were two parts to our cultural probe. The first part was a handout that included a day long timeline and a number of sticky notes designed to encourage subjects to provide information about their activities, feelings and attitudes throughout the day.




For the second part of our cultural probe, we asked a number of Generation Xers to document the moment when they take their medicine by taking a picture of their medication with a little context about where they are and what they are doing.

From this we hoped to understand exactly what is going on when someone takes their medication. Every person that responded had a glass of water or other beverage present when they took their medication.The fact that most people need access to water when taking their medication presents an important restriction of their ability to take their medication.

The co-design activity we conducted aimed to encourage the people we talked to to think about what helps them remember or causes them to forget to take their medicine.  We printed numerous photos of common items or situations a person might encounter throughout the course of a day, and had them attach a color coded sticky note with a short explanation written on it to the pictures that they felt were personal reminders and distractions.

Many respondents confirmed that cell phone reminders were effective in getting their attention, and that talking with their doctors regarding medicines helped them feel confident about taking their medication.


Usability Testing

We decided to focus on an app for our usability test. During the creation phase, we put an emphasis on both helpfulness and reliability. 

To ensure that the app is effective in helping a user improve compliance, we incorporated an incentive system. To ensure reliability, we incorporated an image recognition component to further validate compliance.


After determining the logic, flow, and wireframe of the app, we used POP (Prototyping on Paper) to simulate how it would actually function.


With our prototype, we were able to engage five users to analyze their impressions and motivations behind using our app.





Patterns & Insights


All users strongly agreed that an incentive system would make it more likely for them to use our app and improve compliance. They suggested that discounts on general pharmacy products and groceries would be most desirable.


Users that use smart phones frequently mentioned that it would not always be convenient to have to access their phone during medicine intake.


Furthermore, this app loses appeal if the user only has one or two medications to track.


Final Takeaways

For Generation X, the fast-paced lifestyle is the major reason of noncompliance. We also found that the current solutions to medicine noncompliance are straightforward (reminder + incentives) but ineffective. 


An effective solution:



  • Take into account people's busy schedules

  • Have a reminder included because the main reason for non-compliance is forgetfulness

  • Be simple and intuitive to use



  • Have a fool-proof solution tha does not allow people to get incentives without having actually taken the medication

  • Should not be too cumbersome to use - should take a minute or two

  • Include incentives such as coupons and vouchers to capture people's interest

  • Be an electronic solution as most people in Gen-X are tech-savvy

bottom of page