The impact of information design on the quality of bowel preparation for colonoscopy screening


This project aims to improve the design and content of bowel preparation instructions in order to increase comprehension amongst patients undergoing colonoscopy screening, which should lead to better quality of bowel preparation.

Preparing the bowel before colonoscopy involves the consumption of a prescribed purgative medicine and adherence to a strict diet, which is a complex procedure with responsibility falling mainly on patients. At least 25% of colonoscopies are unsuccessful due to poor bowel preparation.

The clarity of instructions given to patients has been identified as an important factor in the quality of bowel preparation. The way information is communicated, presented and structured affects patient comprehension and performance. However, bowel preparation instructions currently used in the NHS are poorly designed and fail to meet all patients’ needs. Moreover, the health information in current circulation in England has been identified as too complex for 43% of adults.

At the heart of this project is inclusive and patient-centred design, where user-centred research methods were used in order to involve representative users throughout the entire project, and prioritise their needs/motivations. Methods include: focus groups, surveys, questionnaires, interviews, usability testing, and user performance testing compare existing with new design solutions.

Design outcomes include: a redesigned bowel preparation booklet, a new bowel preparation calendar, a new companion motion graphics to the booklet, a new companion App to the booklet.

The results from the user performance testing provide evidence that users find and understand information on bowel preparation instructions more accurately and quicker with the new design than with the existing design.

Publications and outputs

The outcomes of the project included:

Information design for bowel cancer detection. The impact of using information visualization to help patients prepare for colonoscopy screening, using a booklet, a motion graphics and an App. Access the journal 

A motion graphics video

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

A patient preparation booklet 

An app to help patients to prepare for Colonoscopy