Using Information Design to Support Clinical Trial Site Staff

Posted by Darragh Fitzmaurice on May 8, 2018 1:00:00 PM

Clinical trial site staff need access to accurate information for the duration of a trial to enable them to complete tasks effectively, adhere to protocol compliance requirements, and ensure patient safety. Often, many issues arise in clinical trials when multiple stakeholders are expected to rapidly access information from large and complex protocol documents. However, protocol documents are not typically written with instructional design principles in mind. 

At Longboat, we specialize in the development of visual, engaging, and animated training content and tools that are designed to improve protocol compliance. We know that offering online resources to break down complex information into concise instructions can help to make life easier for busy site staff.

In this blog, we share some of the key information design techniques our instructional design team use so that site staff can access what they need, when they need it without difficulty:

1.    AlignmentAlignment

Alignment places elements to connect in a non-randomized pattern that offers structure and organization to your resources. In the clinical trial setting, the alignment principle is essential for clinical trial staff, who must be able to access information in an ordered and organised format in real-time, and make rapid connections to various information sources (e.g., a protocol document or laboratory manual) in tools where it makes most sense operationally.

2.      Consistency

Consistency balances numerous elements within an information resource. This establishes a framework of rules and creates a template that can be referenced to ensure that no inconsistent design patterns emerge. Furthermore, consistency enables users to find the information they need rapidly without stumbling over troublesome navigation issues.

Some of the essential elements we apply at Longboat to ensure consistency of experience for the site staff and patients using our platform include:

  • Colours and hues
  • Typography size, spacing, and position
  • Size and relationships of elements
  • Space amongst textual and visual components 

3.    Proximity

Proximity provides a clear starting and finishing focal point for the user. As an information design principle, it means connecting elements in a logical manner to aid in understanding content, and structuring information so that the user can easily and logically pick out information in quick succession for use in a real-time scenario.

4.      Contrast


Contrast is important to grab the user’s attention and ensure that the most essential information stands out. For contrast to work effectively, elements should be completely different yet complimentary of one another. For site staff accessing procedures online, this can be achieved by simply using a different typeface and color scheme to that of underlying instructional text.

5.      White Space

White space leaves a portion of a screen or document blank. There is an assumption that overloading a resource with as much information as possible aids in effective information delivery. In fact, this assumption can cause a user to switch off, making it difficult for them to locate information.

White space provides a place to rest when navigating through the information provided. Furthermore, white space creates a clear logical layout amongst graphics and text. This aids in delivering a clear and direct message to the user without overwhelming them with design features.

If you want to learn how Longboat can support consistent training and protocol compliance across all stakeholders involved in the success of your clinical trial, we'd love to talk to you.

If you're looking for your next instructional design opportunity, please contact us. We are always on the look-out for talented people to join the Longboat crew.

References: The 5 Basic Principles of Design. Maddisondesigns®. Published: March 27, 2009. Available:

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Topics: clinical trial protocol training, clinical trial training, clinical trial technologies

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