Information Design and Architecture in Persuasive Pharmacy Space: combating Anti-Microbial Resistance (IDAPPS)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Reading
Department Name: Typography and Graphic Communication


Information Design and Architecture in Persuasive Pharmacy Space: combating anti-microbial resistance (IDAPPS)

IDAPPS is an inter-disciplinary project bringing together academics and practitioners in graphic and information design, architecture, ergonomics and human factors, and pharmacy to consider how to support one of the strategic aims of the UK 5-Year Antimicrobial Resistance strategy 2013-18: how to 'improve the knowledge and understanding of antimicrobial resistance'.

IDAPPS introduces 'persuasive space' in thinking about the presentation of information, its situation within an environment, and how users interact with it, in the context of a community pharmacy. Community pharmacies are socially inclusive and convenient, and today play a key role in delivering public health. They are places where people wait for prescriptions to be filled or to see a pharmacist, and offer a persuasive space to raise awareness of the dangers of Anti-Microbial Resistance.

Our inspiration for IDAPPS is work done by Otto and Marie Neurath in the 1930s to raise awareness of and support prevention of tuberculosis (TB). They produced a series of charts with striking and effective images based on consistent and carefully considered principles, for public display in schools and community centres. The Neuraths believed that the space in which the charts were read and used was important for their effective reception and understanding. This aligned with the notion of persuasive space in architecture, in particular a significant seam of work taking place in the 1930s in the early stages of modernism when functionalism came to the fore.

IDAPPs considers this historical context studying graphic and information design in the nineteenth- and early-twentieth century used to tell people about, for example, TB, infection spread, and approaches to hygiene to combat bacterial infection. We use this information to inform ideas for the development of designs for a persuasive pharmacy space, also taking account of user-centred information design projects which patients, families, carers, health professionals and designers work together, and the integrating and participatory principles of human factors and ergonomics.

IDAPPS has been designed to provoke and to generate ideas for future consideration. Through a competition, good practice report, and public exhibition, we anticipate a thriving legacy. A competition to design persuasive pharmacy space will comprise teams of information/graphic designers, architect or built environment professionals or researchers and pharmacy practitioners or researchers. It will result in the development of a winning prototype set up in a pharmacy. A report containing good practice guidelines for persuasive space in community pharmacies will contribute to expanding knowledge on the impact of the built environment and information design on wellbeing and education and will therefore be of interest to a wide variety of organisations. An exhibition will show examples of archival material to show how explanations and descriptions of AMR have been dealt with in the past, and the prototype design solutions.

To enhance feasibility and to add value to the project, we have engaged two project partners who are keen to work with us. Day Lewis is one of the largest independent pharmacy chains in the UK and Europe; its central purpose is 'to help people in the community stay healthy and feel better'. Design Science, a leading science communication design group, will advise on the transformation of scientific fact to understandable information, and will play a key role in the curation and design of the exhibition.

Planned Impact

IDAPPS will contribute improved knowledge and understanding of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in diverse local communities through Persuasive Pharmacy Space (PPS). IDAPPS beneficiaries are architecture and design practitioners, pharmacy users and workers, organisations who want to raise the profile of the dangers of AMR (especially in the context of the impact of the built environment on well-being and education), and the general public. Through their contacts and networks, our non-academic partners, Day Lewis and Design Science, offer additional opportunities for reach and engagement.

IDAPPS' impact is sought in 3 main ways:
- a Competition that will generate ideas and proposals for persuasive pharmacy space
- a Project Report containing good practice guidelines for developing persuasive spaces in community pharmacies, and that will have considerable reach if our plan to get it distributed by the General Pharmaceutical Council is achieved
- an Exhibition that will draw attention to approaches taken to combating AMR in the past. We are particularly keen to draw attention to the TB and malaria prevention campaigns realised by Otto and Marie Neurath as we have some evidence to suggest the approaches may be relevant today (see, for example, the quote in the Visual Evidence p.1). The Exhibition will display the work of the finalists in the Competition, and the final prototype.

In addition, we will produce papers for non-academic publications in each of the contributing disciplines, and generate impact through the project events and workshop, and social media.

IDAPPS's impact will achieve:
- recognition of the value of persuasive space in community pharmacies as a result of our good practice guidelines arising from the research
- a greater understanding of user needs and perceptions enabling a greater tailoring of pharmacy design experience
- demonstration of the value of well-designed health communication and the environment in which it is situated
- raised profile of explanations and descriptions of AMR produced in the past, and how they are relevant today
- greater understanding by architect and design practitioners of the value of drawing on cross-disciplinary research to enhance practice
- raised profile of research activity within design practice
- expansion of knowledge on the impact of the built environment on wellbeing and education
- raised profile and reach of our project partners, Day Lewis and Design Science
- reactions to the innovative outputs emerging from the Ideas Lab and Competition


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