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Agency JDO Conceptualizes At-Home COVID Testing Kit

by Rudy Sanchez on 12/08/2020 | 3 Minute Read

In humanity’s arsenal of weapons to combat the coronavirus, testing is a critical one. Positive and asymptomatic individuals can self-isolate themselves sooner, as well as monitor themselves and get medical attention should their COVID infection progress to the point of needing medical attention, for example.

At-home kits make it more likely for someone to test themselves for the coronavirus, but these tests must be easy to administer as well. While designing an easy-to-use product is typically done to gain a competitive advantage, with COVID testing, it is also crucial that tests are performed correctly for an accurate result. Complicated tests can lead patients to forego at-home kits or perform the test incorrectly. Plus, instructions also have to be simple enough for folks to follow.

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With news of at-home coronavirus kits becoming available, UK-based agency JDO conducted a concept exercise, designing a test-kit that cut down on possible user errors and contamination, as well as provide easy-to-understand instructions. 

“We looked at the design of current kits as a starting point and considered how we could communicate the process and execute the test in a simpler, clearer way," said Matt Blaylock, Design Manager at JDO. "Current tests have multiple components, and the visual and written communication is medical in nature and sometimes complicated. That potentially alienates consumers and adds to anxiety in a situation that may already be unnerving."

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The COVID test kit uses bright and attractive colors and infographics to communicate the instructions, while the copy is concise and uses basic vocabulary. The simple three-step process ends in the patient sealing the swab in the original packaging for the return shipment, cutting down on waste. Finally, patients register their test kits via an app, which also returns results within a few days.

“Ultimately, our end goal was a clear and singular kit that the user felt comfortable to buy and confident to use. We also wanted zero waste, a problem neatly solved by re-using the original card sleeve as a return mailer,” Blaylock said.

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Of course, most of the news focuses on the breakneck speed at which firms around the world are developing and trialing vaccines, but JDO’s concept also demonstrates that design beyond the lab can also play a critical role in pushing back the pandemic.

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“One of the biggest fears in using the kits is not swabbing correctly or contaminating the swab, concerns that innovation in the product design can alleviate," Matt says. "This project also illustrated that direct to consumer marketing has definite advantages during current times. All of this helps to instill confidence in the consumer, that they can execute a successful test without a medical professional present.”

“Just because it’s a medical device, it doesn’t have to look like a prescription. Simple and friendly design language is a powerful communicator in this scenario,” he adds.

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