What is it about?

Written information about medicines is commonplace and has been used worldwide for decades to communicate risks and safe use advice for medicines. This chapter describes ways to optimise these important information materials using a design science approach—a structured process that starts with awareness of a problem, continues to development of a proposal/artefact up to its evaluation, and ends with a conclusion, including increased design science knowledge and/or awareness of unresolved or new issues relevant to communication.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

As illustrated here, creation and optimisation of information about medicines still has much room for improvement, to be enacted considering the totality of issues integral to the quality of information—in particular comprehensibility, usability, typography and layout. In this context, the systematic use of quality criteria is highly recommended. Evaluation is a key step of the design process; therefore, several evaluation methods are presented, with consideration of their advantages and limitations. Crucially, the evaluation should focus on improving the entire information material rather than simply attaining the success criteria of a couple of tested key messages. In addition, this chapter is meant to opens eyes and provide ideas for future perspectives and pathways for user-centred information materials.


• Written information about risks and safe use of medicines can be seen as a product that can benefit from being created and optimised by a design science-based approach. However, such information material can also be the proposal/artefact to solve a problem occurring in use of medicines and medical devices. • A design science-based approach includes a user-centred design process, generation and application of evidence-based design features as quality criteria standard and testing with the participation of representatives of intended users. • Applicable evaluation methods include tests for readability, comprehensibility and usability as well as quality-criteria evaluations and user surveys. • The creation and optimisation of written information about the risks and safe use of medicines still has much room for improvement, in particular regarding the volume of text, comprehensibility, typography and layout. • Improvements should be targeted at the upgrading of the entire information material as a product in all aspects, rather than testing a couple of key messages. • Only evidence-based, user-centred recommendations should be implemented in guidelines on such information materials, and shortcomings should be remedied in evidence-based and timely manner.

Dr Jörg Fuchs

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Design Science with a Focus on User-Centred Evaluation of Written Information, January 2020, Springer Science + Business Media, DOI: 10.1007/978-981-15-3013-5_12.
You can read the full text:




The following have contributed to this page