Failure of Design: Medication Packaging


So, here’s a situation: I’m having a severe allergic reaction without prior exposure to any known trigger. My nose is a mucus tap, my eyes are swollen and runny, I’m covered in sweat and in a state of confusion and mild panic. So by what stretch is it assumed I would be okay with performing microsurgery on a polystyrene bubble with my fingernail to peel the paper backing off by the ant-sized corner lip? I can barely do this when lucid and healthy, and I suppose that I’m more dextrous than most. After a few seconds I give up and reach for the biggest knife in my kitchen to pry the bubbles open with; I tend to overreact dangerously.

Pharmaceutical blister-packs are a tremendously bad idea. When people go to use a pain reliever, antihistamine, decongestant or antacid, they’re obviously going to be in a state of discomfort, frustration and fear and are looking for fast relief. Making someone battle with packaging in that state makes for an awful user experience and makes the user worse off for wanting a simple bit of comfort. Effectivity of the medication within notwithstanding, the first fifteen seconds – or minutes – of use compounds the user’s problems and makes them feel worse. This is a design problem all the more severe because the user feels deficient for experiencing difficulty, when it’s clearly the product’s fault.


2 Responses to “Failure of Design: Medication Packaging”

  1. 1 Beth

    It was tuna! (Maybe)

  2. 2 stevecaruso

    You’re probably right. There’s a can of tuna in my fridge that came with the place, but it looks more like a ticking bomb to me.

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