I have developed my research interests partially through my background in Marketing and Consumer Goods, and partially through being a part of the Healthcare Universal Design and Biomechanics team at Michigan State University.
Over the Counter Drug Packaging
Over the Counter (OTC) Drugs are a unique category of medications that are available to consumers without any oversight of a medical professional. While prescription drugs require both prescriber and a pharmacist to evaluate whether or not a medication is appropriate for a patient, OTC's are deemed acceptable by the patient themselves. This self determination of OTC drugs means there is a different type risk of accidentally inducing a drug-drug interaction or miscalculating a dose; the risk of misusing OTC drugs is entirely dependent on the consumer's health literacy, and ability to interact with the packaging and labeling easily and effectively to ensure proper usage behavior. I am interested in further exploring different OTC categories and seeing how consumers use the current packaging to determine appropriate dosage, and whether that matches up with the appropriate doses recommended by medical professionals and the FDA.
Another one of my research interests is the process of people perceiving an object or a situation as risky. Whether or not a person thinks a situation or product is likely to cause them harm has impacts on how they behave in that object or situation, and familiarity can decrease the likelihood that they will behave cautiously. This interest in Risk Perception ties into OTC medications by giving a context to the amount of time and effort the consumer takes when determining whether or not a medication is appropriate to use, and how much of the label they think they should read.
Affordance Theory and Human Package Interactions
Affordances can be defined as anything a person can do to or with an object. Affordances were first applied to design by Don Norman through his idea of perceived affordance- or, anything a person perceives as an appropriate action to do with an object. Affordance Theory has been applied to packaging through the Human Package Interaction Model as proposed by Dr. Javier de la Fuente. The Human Package Interaction Model proposes that use of packaging is a two way interaction between person and object, with the person gleaning new information at different stages of the interaction depending on the task they are trying to accomplish with the package. I am striving to apply the Human Package Interaction Model and the Theory of Affordances to propose user centered design to problems related to risk perception and over the counter drug use.