This week was a week of reflection. It was time now to take all of the information that had been gathered. Print out all of the photographed whiteboard diagrams and scenarios, and do another round of synthesis on these new artifacts.
I had to take a bit of a step back from my initial design plans and start to really focus on the narrative around the product, which will inherently determine the way the product is designed.
Just to re-cap for a moment. I am working on developing what I am calling a “Journey to Recovery”. I have yet to even begin to think of a catchy 2.0 name and am very cautions really when it comes to putting a label on my service product because of the nature of the content.
My problem opportunity is this; I have backed up research and data that suggest that a combination of both therapy and medication are the best tools for helping an individual suffering from a mental condition.
That statistically 30% of individuals prescribed medication for such things as depression or bi-polar disorder never refill their first month. I was informed from an individual source that their particular center experienced only a 1% success rate or people making it through recovery and into self-sustainability.
Because I am focusing on areas where there may not be access to therapy or possibly even a support system for miles and miles, I must attempt, before even thinking of packaging design, to put myself into the shoes of my potential user. Where they come from. What they may be familiar with, and unfamiliar with as well. How to be cautiously empathetic without at all seeming contrived or like an “out sider looking in”.
I took this week to really stop and think about what it would be like to receive a package of some sort, in the mail, that was intended to both inform, guide, provide medication instruction and expectations, provide support, and connect me to the outside world.
What do I see when I open my mailbox, visually? What does it feel like to receive a package in the mail? What is physically printed on the outside?
What indicators are there that tell me how to open the package? Am I confused? Do I say to myself, how do you work this thing?
When I open it what am I encountered with? Am I intrigued, cautious, welcomed, or encouraged? Am I relieved?
At what point am I presented with the concept and actual physical visual of the medication, and how might that feel? Do I feel anxious, or skeptical? Is there anything that accompanies the idea of being medicated long term that makes me feel less… broken?
How do I get the medication out of the package? Do I have to work for it? It is easy? Do I have to read something or interact with the package first before I can access it? Are the instructions clear? Day by day, hour by hour if necessary.
Lastly, when am I presented with opportunities to reach out to others, to mail back a letter, or call a number? And do I get a reply back? What does that feel like?
I am currently in the process of sketching and iterating upon those sketches with more sketches as well as working on researching comparative analysis on not to name names, but some pretty horrible products out there in the pharmaceutical land that actually gives me encouragement that I might, possibly be able to make some positive effect on someone. Someday.
Below are the questions posed above, in sketch form, mapped out as a step by step experience of what it might be like to interact with this thing.
Now is an iteration 1 of an advent calendar style box that carries 6 weeks of medication, that encourages playful interaction, encouraging and identifying stories from people in the same position, with an intervention mail in card placed after a few days that the patient interacts with (fills out their story, scratches off how they are feeling, possibly suggests that they reach out to the center writing on this card with something they feel they need, such as more support). Each advent type small box holds 1. a card that can be taken with the patient, put in their pocket etc. 2. Encouraging narrative quote pertaining to the day the patient is on printed on the inside of the box opening, and 3. the actual medication packaged in a way that is easy to access for someone who may be elderly or lacking fine motor skills.
Iterations 2 and 3 follow the same guidelines. One being a booklet shown here below, and another still in progress more of a travel kit.
The front of the booklet will follow along the same guidelines as the advent calendar idea. With familiar imagery, possibly a landscape, brand name, and indicator to open the package. My visual inspiration is from this package which I find universally soothing and very in touch with nature or a rural setting in a non condescending way.
The booklet goes as follows:
Here are both the front of the booklet as well as how the basic structure is to be laid out. If it is not super clear, the booklet will contain 14 pills, 2 weeks of medication, in a semicircle pattern. With die-cut pages revealing the pill of the day along with varying narratives, resources, and stories.
- Basic structure:
1st page welcome message / what to expect / Congratulations on taking the first steps to recovery:
2nd page, clear messaging on the day, a narrative of someone in a similar situation, encouraging imagery and affirmation and a die-cut of the medication that is a blister pack you push through the back to access.
3rd page similar to the 2nd, but with varying narrative as to remain fresh and interesting, the patient can see their progress by the 1st day of medications die-cut still there but now filled with a bright color:
Intervention page: A tear out foldable pre-posted card that inquires about the patients status, wants and needs. Suggests ways to reach out for help, and resources available. Encouraging to stick with the program, that it will get better, and to notify their therapist if they are experiencing any ill effects at all.
I have purchased the supplies to begin building more formal prototypes to test this week, and am currently working on refining the initial narrative that surrounds the recovery journey experience.