Conceptualized and prototyped a self-service pharmacy kiosk to make the medicine pick up process more accessible and efficient


ROLE: UX/UI Designer, ,Product Designer, Researcher
TEAM: Lam Pham, Ryan Manalastas, Madeline Ng, Julie Fung, Allie Pai
TIMELINE: 3 months


Many pharmacies today deal with long wait times and unavailability during off hours making it a pain point for those with busy schedules. Additionally, older demographics are hesitant to visit pharmacies due to their language and cultural barriers, often having to recruit their loved ones to accompany them on pharmacy trips, a hassle for everyone involved. 

Discovering the problem

I first focused on researching existing pain points within the point-of-purchase aspects of the medical industry. Through our research, we found several articles detailing the inefficiences of medical office phone and appointment systems, confirming that there are potential improvements to make within the pharmacy visit process. Despite this problem, we found very few examples of pharmacies attempting to address these issues.

Understanding the users

We decided to conduct some initial user interviews to glean some insights into how the average person feels about their pharmacy visits and their experience with using kiosks. 

From these initial interviews, we found that the majority of people indeed felt that their pharmacy visits were either too long or could be shorter. As for the viability of a kiosk solution, many of the interviewees have had experience using grocery store kiosks as well as the Amazon lockers so they would feel comfortable using one at a pharmacy. Although older demographics felt that the kiosks should be optional since they felt some hesitation relying on technology to manage their prescriptions. 

Storyboarding and user journeys

With the data gathered, the team created storyboards to visualize a variety of different user flows and what the desired user experience would entail. Storyboarding was very useful for in engaging all members of the team in stringing our personas in order to develop a more comprehensive user experience.

Initial prototyping

From the initial user research and storyboarding we set out to create some low fidelity prototypes which would allow for rapid iteration and testing. I decided to go with a simple page by page process which would essentially hold the user’s hand thoughout the entire kiosk experience.

By having users test our paper prototypes, we were able to observe them as they went through the process of picking up and paying for their prescriptions.
In these observations, there were moments in which the users felt confused or didn’t know what the next step was. We also learned that visual feedback is essential to bridging the user’s gulf of execution and evaluation. For example, our kiosk had one universal card reader in the paper prototype. One of the users didn’t pull out his form of ID because there was a lack of feedback. The user reached the payment stage and was confused that his ID was still in the card reader. In this case, we decided to have two card readers, one for identity and the other for payment. The paper prototypes helped us determine which areas needed to be improved in our mid to high fidelity prototypes, such as in the wireframing screens.

High Fidelity Prototype

From the user testing of the clickable prototypes, we discovered some common trends such as the simplicity of our prototype as well as the need for more visual feedback. We interviewed three different users, all UCSD students who had fairly similar experiences with our initial prototype kiosk. A common point of confusion during our task was that there was little feedback when selecting items; eg. the prescription selection screen needed more visual feedback whenever an item was selected. Another request a user had was to add auditory feedback, a feature we will explore in our next prototype. We also asked our users about their experience with other kiosks compared to ours and all three users praised our pharmacy kiosk for its simple, straight forward process which had little chance for error. The users said that other kiosks tend to be more convoluted with many options and use cases and felt that this one was a much simpler experience. All of the users also pointed out the lines they encounter at a pharmacy, which was a common issue for our testers whenever they went to go pick up medicine.

In general, by using this clickable prototype, we were able to gain actual insight on how user-friendly our prototype was. Although the users made it through our tasks with little to no hiccups and had positive views on the overall process, we still gained valuable insight through observing these users. For example, we found that some users thought some text boxes looked like buttons and attempted to click it. While the process is simple, there is still room for improvement.

List of Improvements:
  • Provide more feedback
    • Audio and visual
  • Add an actual price in the payment screen
  • Make payment screen more clear
    • Some users attempted to click the total on the order summary
  • Created an app version to further reduce wait time and support locker system
  • Add Help/Assistance functionality


Moving forward

Since our kiosk is an optional service for pharmacy visitors, some future steps would be to figure out how to encourage visitors to opt for the kiosk method. Onboarding more users would alleviate wait times and allow pharmacists to focus on their work. 2020 update: with the current pandemic and social distancing, tools such as this kiosk would alleviate contact with others. By placing this kiosk outside and allowing wireless pay and pickup, many visitors would feel much safer when ordering and retrieving their medicine.