Mishka Thacker
15 min readNov 14, 2019

Market Survey

For the market survey, the ten ideas used were the ones from the last assignment. I did this because I wanted to get responses of how my own ideas stack up to what people would want in a pill organizer. These ideas have passed a first order NVF test.

After the survey, I plan on using the feedback to change/merge my ideas into five final ideas.

For this survey, I made a survey on Google Forms and decided to put it on Reddit under r/samplesize. I made sure to include in the description that this is for people who use pill organizers so that this survey would represent the user to help determine willingness to buy and how much they would pay for each of the 10 ideas.

In the end, I got exactly 10 responses. I was kind of surprised that I only got 10 off of Reddit since last time I put my survey on Reddit, 40+ of my survey responses were just from Reddit.

In my survey, I introduced my ideas with the pictures shown above and asked the following questions:

  • Which of these rough sketches show ideas that are the most innovative?
  • Referring to the ideas from the previous question, which would you be inclined to purchase?
  • What would be a price range you would pay for a pill organizer in general?
  • How much would you pay for… (insert different options; description of pill organizer with various features)
  • Is there anything in any of these ideas that you would really like to see in a pill organizer?
  • Is there anything that is not included in these ideas that you would like to see in a pill organizer?

The data is as follows:

Option 1 is the pill organizer that connects to a phone for reminders. This one was considered one of the three ideas that was considered most innovative for 90% of the people who took this survey. This didn’t surprise me since we live in a day and age of technology and it would be feasible.

Option 2 is the pill organizer combined with a water bottle and option 8 is the pill organizer with an alarm (not connected to a phone). 50% of people that took the survey considered these two ideas as one of the three ideas that were considered most innovative. This also didn’t surprise me since these combined helpful things with pill organizers.

Option 3 is a pill organizer with an aorta style opening to push pills through, and option 9 is a pill organizer with buttons to open compartments. These two ideas tied with 30% of people considering these two as one of the three most innovative ideas. I would have thought the importance of ease of use would put these two at a higher percentage.

The five remaining ideas received 2 or less votes each, with option 5 and 7 not getting any votes. Option 5 was a pill organizer that is circular, for easy portability and uses a button mechanisms that open up the compartment needed and option 7 was a pill organizer you can cover to look sleek. I was not surprised with these ideas not being considered too innovative, since I would consider them scoring lower on a NVF test, specifically in the novel and valuable categories.

The next question asked was which would of the pill organizer ideas would you be inclined to purchase?

Shown as a bar graph
Shown as a pie chart

I was not surprised that option 1 was the most likely to be purchased, followed by option 2. I was more surprised that option 10 was higher on this list than some of the other options . All the other options got a similar amount of votes. Option 4 and 6 did not get any votes. I was not too surprised about option 4 since I don’t think many people would wear a pill organizer as a necklace, but option 6, which is a pill organizer you spin to open, I would have thought to get more votes since easier opening is important to people.

The next question I asked was in general how much someone would pay for a pill organizer:

It seemed as though the max someone would pay for a pill organizer would be about $20. Comparing this to the market research of pill organizers I did in a previous blog, this seemed fair. A pill organizer is a simple product and many people would just buy something that got the job done rather than going out of the way to purchase a more expensive pill organizer with extra features.

From there, the next thing to do was ask how much someone would pay for each individual idea. A couple of the ideas were similar enough to group them together into one question, such as being pushed open with a button (options 5 and 9), or being made of rubber (options 3 and 10). So in total, I asked 8 different questions about price and changed the price options for each based on previous research. The results are shown below:

Looking at these, it seems as though most people do not want to pay more than $10 for a simple pill organizer. However, when other features are involved, that price goes up to a max of $20.

When thinking that retail price is about 10x the cost, that shows that I would have to make a pill organizer out of $1-$2 worth of materials.

I asked two final questions just to try and wrap up the survey:

Some of these reiterated what was already shown in the data of the survey, such as the alarm/reminders, connecting to phone, and water bottle.

The automatic dispensing one is an interesting idea, which is something I could possibly try and include. I also liked the gamify idea, which could make taking pills “fun”, especially for children who do not want to take pills.

While some of these ideas are not too helpful, I can take this feedback to try and see how I can evolve my current ideas.

All in all, from these surveys, I found out some information and have decided which 5 ideas to continue along with, options 1, 2, 3, 8, and 9. I’m going to try and revise these ideas based on feedback from the users and see if I can combine any ideas to evolve them.


Moving on to benchmarking, I decided to continue on with these five ideas:

  • Option 1, a pill organizer that connects to your smartphone
  • Option 2, a pill organizer combined with a water bottle
  • Option 3, a pill organizer with aorta style openings to push pills through
  • Option 8, a pill organizer with an alarm
  • Option 9, a pill organizer with buttons that open the compartments

Some of these ideas are not super novel, but are very valuable and feasible which makes up for the lack of novelty. Pill organizers are a simple product and too much novelty is not worth diminished value.

For the first 2x2, I grouped together option 3 and 9, since they both have to deal with ease of use in opening and closing the pill organizer. The 2x2 is shown below:

Option 3 and 9 2x2

I used three different pill organizers. One of them, the modular push through pill organizer was very similar to my aorta idea (option 3). However, this one is not easily portable, so an idea would be to have option 3 more portable but just as easy to use.

The regular pill organizer is not as easy to open as compared to either of the other two, so both of my ideas would rank better.

The one week pill organizer uses small pill organizers for each day of the week, which you push in and it pushes out using a spring, similar to a retractable pen. It is not as easy to use than the modular one, but pushing it like a button is similar to option 9. However, option 9 does not need a second pill organizer to open.

Next I put option 2 on a 2x2.

Option 2 2x2

I compared three ideas to option 2 and based it on portability and aesthetic. The first idea on the left was not aesthetically appealing and looked cheap, and as though the portability would not be as high. The middle idea looked more aesthetically appealing, but the storage was rather simple instead of a typical pill organizer and it was larger, which made it seem less portable. The last one was a sleek aesthetically appealing, smaller bottle with a removable pill organizer. Option 2 would have be more ergonomic and portable.

Option 1 and 8 2x2

The last 2x2 is for option 1 and 8 since they have to do with reminders. The one at the bottom only had one alarm option, making it useful if you had only had to take one pill a day. Option 8 would have more capabilities for different alarms. The option above had more options but still did not connect to a phone, leaving it below option 1. The top pill organizer connected to a phone, but has a small pill organizer that is bluetooth. Option 1 would have a larger pill organizer and would be able to connect to a phone beyond bluetooth capability.

Patent Search

Next, I looked up patents to see what relevant patents exist for each of my ideas.

Option 1- pill organizer connected to your smart phone

  • For this one, I found patent US20160147976A1, Medication Identification, Tracking And Adherence Management. “ The WATS accessible on a user device scans, decodes, and validates the identifier code, and obtains medical information associated with the medical implement and/or an activity, for example, an exercise activity, a diet activity, etc., associated with the medical implement from the decoded and validated identifier code”. It is a method for tracking wellness adherence of a healthcare recipient. This pill organizer is rather complex and uses QR codes to connect to a user’s device and track their medication.
  • Compared to my idea, this idea isn’t exactly about reminding the user through an app, so I would not have to change anything to further the design process along with this idea.


Option 2- water bottle pill organizer

  • For this one, I found patent USD851455S1, Pill box organizer with bottle. The description of the patent just shows the design in pictures from different views. It is a bottle with a pill organizer on the top of it. From the picture, the bottle seems to be ergonomic and fit a users hand and it could possibly be clear. The pill organizer has five compartments and it looks like it can be removed with latches.
  • Compared to my idea, I have a more traditional water bottle shape that is less ergonomic and the pill organizer is at the bottom of the bottle. I also have 7 compartments in the pill organizer. I have been thinking of a screw on bottom instead of using latches.


Option 3- aorta style opening for pills

  • For this I found patent US5762199A, Daily pocket pill organizer. This idea is “The containers are cylindrical with removable caps. The caps are designed to be supplied with consideration of a patient’s functional ability. The containers are pocket sized and have pill compartments in various multiples accordance with the container use.” It is supposed to be easy to access the compartments and easy to wash when needed.
  • Compared to my idea, it is not too similar, since there is no rubber push opening. However, the idea of a removable cap and easy to remove is one idea that went along with my idea. I would not have to change anything because of this patent.


Option 8- pill organizer with alarm

  • For this I found patent US6662081B1, Medication regimen container and system. This is “A medication regimen monitor can be included in this system in order to be programmed to signal proper medication dosage times. The system also can include a holder for multiple storing and dispensing units in an ordered fashion consistent with daily requirements of the medication regimen.”
  • Compared to my idea, there are some similarities. The idea of an alarm going off to signal when a user should take their medication is the same as mine, however, they implement it differently. The idea seems to be removable from the tray and in my idea, it was more static.


Option 9- pill organizer with buttons to open

  • For this I found patent US9889068B1, Pill organizer. This pill organizer uses buttons to open it, which slides out a compartment for the day. It can be split into multiple compartments for different times of the day.
  • Compared to my idea, the button idea is the same. However, I figured it would open up instead of out. I thought that would make more sense. My idea also just has compartments instead of separate small pill organizers.



Each of my ideas has some concerns/unknowns since they are just ideas and have not been pursued further in the design process.

  • Option 1- One concern would be the price. The amount of money it would take to make and design an app could be a lot. Especially because this app has to be very reliable to make sure it does not make any mistakes in reminding users to take their pills and needs to be easy to use. Another concern would be the phone requirement, since some of the elderly do not use smartphones. If they have a caretaker, it is possible they have a smartphone and can help them with that.
  • Option 2- One concern would be the size. The main goal of this is being portable, and if the water bottle is too big, then it will be annoying to take with and ruin the portability criteria. Another concern is if the water bottle is dropped and breaks, sending the pills everywhere. I myself have problems dropping water bottles which dents them and ruins them. The security of this water bottle needs to be high, to make sure that if the water bottle is dropped, the pills are not spilled everywhere.
  • Option 3- One concern would be security. Rubber as the cover may come off easier since it is not as secure. This could be an issue on the go, and cause the pills to spill in bags. Another concern would go along with that is the portability. Being portable is another thing I wanted to focus on, but the main focus for this idea was the ease of use. Another concern is it could also be hard to remove and reattach the rubber cover for those with arthritis. If they had to stretch it, it could be hard on their hands.
  • Option 8- One concern would be the pill organizer is not carried with all the time. The alarm here relies on the fact that the pill organizer would be on the person at all times so that the user could hear it and take their pills. Another concern would be how long the alarm goes off for and if it signals the wrong pill. The alarm might go off for a short period of time and the user might not hear it, or it doesn’t signal the pill and the user could take the wrong one. It would be a simple alarm so it would be hard to differentiate which pill it is signaling.
  • Option 9- One concern would be differentiating it from other pill organizers. The button idea does exist, but through research it does not always work. That would be another concern, which is making sure it does not break since it would be made of the same plastic and could break as well as the button mechanism.

Pugh Chart

For the pugh chart I thought of what was important in forming my ideas. I narrowed down the criteria to:

  • Cost- cost to make, lower is better
  • Portability- how easy it is to take with you
  • Reminders- the ability to remind the user to take it
  • User Interaction- how it interacts with the user, for example telling the user to take pills or storing the prescription information
  • Ease of use- how easy it is to open/close the pill organizer

I decided to compare all the ideas to option 1, since it got the most votes for being innovative on the survey.

It seemed as though option 8 got the best score, but not by much. All scored 0 with the exception of option 8, so I did not take the scores too much into account.

From here, I decided all the ideas had pros and cons in different categories so it would be kind of hard to directly compare them, since each of the ideas were created for different criteria.

I decided to continue on with the first option, since it had the most votes in the survey and the only reason it got a 0 over option 8 getting a 1 is because option 8 is a bit cheaper, but would not be the same quality of a product as option 1.

Sketch Model + Feedback

I made my lo-fi prototype out of cardboard and hot glue. It is pictured below with some idea of what the app would say.

It would have an app that says what pills you need to take and how many of them you need to take and from which day of the week compartment. It would have a setting to renew prescriptions and track your health as well. The pill organizer itself would be connected through the same account to the phone, and would have a display showing an arrow pointing at which pill compartment to remove the pills from and how many to take.

From that basic idea, there would be space to evolve in the app and the pill organizer later through the design process.

It is pictured below pretending to be used in context by my friend.

My friend pretending to use the pill organizer

My friend is a potential user since he takes vitamins everyday and has considered using a pill organizer since he tends to forget every now and then. I asked him for some feedback and the main takeaways are:

  • “I like the idea of being connected to a phone, it would be easier to get a notification to take pills than having to remember in the morning”
  • “I do feel like it could be expensive and at least for me, I would rather have a pill organizer that is cheap”
  • “Showing specifically which pill to take on the pill organizer interface is a good idea, just so people are sure which day they are taking the pills for”
  • “It might be hard to bring with though, maybe find a way to make it smaller”
  • “Also it is still a typical pill organizer which could be hard to open for those with arthritis, which I saw in your other ideas”

Thinking through this feedback, I have some ideas of where to go with the design process.


11/14- Start market survey

11/15- Benchmarking

11/16- Search for patents

11/17- Concerns/ Pugh chart

11/18- Sketch model, prototype

11/19- Gather feedback

11/20- finish editing blog

11/21- present in class