Assessment of colour options for insulin pens

Location: USA
Application: Colour studies on pre-filled injection pens
Project scope: Formative usability testing and user preference research

Our client, a global pharmaceutical company, was in the process of developing four new pre-filled injection pens for people with diabetes. They had developed a number of different colour options for the insulin pens and commissioned Lloyd’s Register Consulting to help them select the most appropriate colours for further development.

We did this by conducting two studies:

  1. Colour differentiation study – designed to satisfy regulatory demands imposed by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), our client wanted to understand which pens were most often confused with other pens currently on the market. This was done by asking participants to pick pens from a selection of competitor devices, and noting down selection errors.
  2. Marketing study – designed to explore and understand users’ attitudes and perceptions towards colour, our client wanted to ensure that users’ view were accounted for in the selection of, pen colours. This was done by asking participants a series of questions related to colour in general (including emotional associations), as well as, asking participants to rate how willing they would be to use the different client pen colours.

The studies were conducted in the US in the form of user trials, whereby, participants were given tasks to complete and questions to answer under the, supervision of trial moderators. 107, participants (97 patients, 10 nurses) took part in these trials that were carried out in two separate locations in New Jersey, USA.

Benefits to the client

The study provided our client with a robust evidence base on which to de-select pen colours from further development  allowing our client to justify marketing decisions internally (e.g. to senior management), as well as demonstrating to regulatory bodies that colour choices are based on a comprehensive understanding of pen performance with respect to selection errors and colour differentiation.

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