Monitoring our own health and diagnosing conditions are becoming more common and will become increasingly necessary in the management of our health. Various diagnostic tests can now be performed in our home. Common types are typically saliva and blood tests.
If performed correctly, many tests deliver accurate results, however the majority are less than ideal from a user’s perspective. This particularly applies to users with poor eyesight as well as those with poor dexterity. These are often the very same people who we need to take the tests, to enable earlier clinical intervention, such as for our elderly population.
These issues were highlighted to me during the covid pandemic as a family member has poor eyesight. He was unable to perform a lateral flow test by himself due to various difficulties he faced using the test. I believe many issues could be eliminated through good design at minimal cost.

A typical covid lateral flow test

  • Has too many manual steps.
  • Requires good eyesight.
  • Requires good dexterity.
  • Requires the user to read, understand & follow the instructions correctly.

Some of the main issues

Sample swab

  • Both the stick handle and swab are white, with no contrasting colour.
  • The packaging is white & transparent, with very faint graphical instructions.

Buffer dropper

  • No mechanical fit between the buffer dropper and the cartridge.
  • Foil lid removal – fiddly tiny handle flap to grip.
  • Plastic body semi-transparent PP – difficult to see.
  • Requires swab to be inserted into the dropper – no lead-in.
  • Requires the user to fold over and assembly the dropper lid.
  • Requires the user to see when four drops have been dispensed into the port of the cartridge. The buffer liquid is clear too.

Cartridge design

  • Colour – all white moulding with minimal, lightly coloured print/ icons.
  • No contrast colour around the port hole – the key target area.
  • Minimal lead-in to the port hole to help in ensuring buffer drops are dispensed correctly.
  • The result line – sometimes a faint red line.

Through better design and a more innovative approach, with increased integration between the different components of a test, I believe a wider section of our population could self-test. These improved test designs would also deliver easier to use and more reliable tests for everyone.

If the issues highlighted apply to your test device and you require some fresh thinking & innovation, then get in touch for an informal discussion. I would love the opportunity to work with you. We have designed products relating to the following three areas:

  • Diagnostic testing
  • Compliance
  • Home monitoring