"User-testing" as a method for testing the fitness-for-purpose of written medicine information

David Kenneth Raynor, Peter Knapp, Jonathon Silcock, Brian Parkinson, Karen Feeney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Written medicine information is essential to support spoken information from pharmacists, but must be fit-for-purpose. This study applied "user testing" to the booklet supplied to UK patients taking anticoagulant medicines.

Methods: "User testing" uses mixed-methods, applied iteratively, to assess document performance - can people find and understand key points of information through a questionnaire and short semi-structured interview. The booklet was tested in 3 rounds of 10 people. After each round it was revised according to participants' responses, and re-tested.

Results: The first round questionnaire identified problems with 6/18 information points (booklet purpose; other information: what affected daily doses; effect of ibuprofen; tablet colour; drinking alcohol); interviews raised further issues. The booklet was revised and, in the second testing round, one problem identified (changing doses of other medicines); the interviews raised fewer issues. After further re-wording and re-design, a third round showed all questions found and understood by at least 8/10 participants.

Conclusion: User testing assesses whether people can find and understand key information and can be applied using small numbers of participants. Application to medicine information can markedly improve performance.

Practice implications: Information producers should consider user testing to ensure documents are 'fit for purpose' in informing patients. Crown Copyright (C) 2011 Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-410
Number of pages7
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • Patient information
  • Readability
  • Testing
  • Anticoagulant

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