Balancing Business Needs and User Acceptance for Prescription Management Enhancement


A pharmaceutical company came to Battelle for help in redesigning the cap and mouthpiece of a nebulizer using human centric design (HCD) principals. At the same time, they were considering adding a prescription management feature to monitor the usage and dosage of the drug. Adding the feature would have provided a business advantage for the company.


Battelle performed a Quality Function Deployment (QFD) exercise in parallel with usability research to assess options and consequences of implementing the tracking feature. The QFD exercise allowed us to map product features to business requirements and user requirements so that the value of potential features could be assessed along several dimensions, including usability and profitability. Our analysis showed that while the tracking system would provide marginal benefit to the company through an increased ability to manage prescriptions, it did so at the expense of usability and customer perception. Not only was the tracker not seen as a benefit by end users, it was potentially detrimental to their acceptance of the product and their perception of the brand.


As a result of the QFD analysis, the company was able to determine that the potential return on investment of the enhancement did not justify the risk of alienating users. They reconfigured the product design without the prescription management component prior to launch. Conducting this research prior to releasing the product in the market allowed them to avoid potential pushback from their end users and damage to their brand.