FDA Consumer Graphics – Usability Case Study

Apr 9, 2014

User testing isn’t just for websites—it’s for any product that has an audience. Which is everything, really. And that includes print materials, signage and infographics as well.

Focusing on the User Experience is especially vital for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is committed to effectively communicating about products that affect the public on a daily basis. Brian Lappin works for the Risk Communication Staff at FDA. His team supports the agency in making sure that all types of communications—video, graphic and Web—are easily understood.

FDA was getting ready to roll out a Consumer Update article about the proper way to use a common wart remover. They had two versions of a graphic they were thinking of including with the article.

FDA Consumer Graphics: Versions A and B before testing

Two versions of a graphic for wart removal medicine.

Both versions seemed to make sense, but FDA’s graphic designers wanted to make sure they communicated their message clearly. The designers called on Brian to informally test the graphics. To do this, Brian used FDA’s internal network of more than 500 employee volunteers who can provide feedback on FDA communications before they go public. In December of 2013, Brian conducted a series of 10 individual telephone interviews to obtain feedback on the graphics. Here’s what he found out:

FDA Consumer Graphics: With customer feedback

Two versions of a graphic for wart removal medicine with annotations about the design.

Brian’s testing revealed there were a lot of questions people had about the design, and different people understood it in different ways. Brian provided the feedback to the designers, who then redesigned the graphics to avoid these pitfalls.

FDA Consumer Graphics: After Redesign

Two pictures of a wart removal medicine with annotations about the improved design.

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