Assistant Professor University of Missouri Columbia, Missouri
Technology is progressing at a rapid pace in many fields, including healthcare and rehabilitation. To compete, companies and research labs are forced into a design and development process which often focuses on quick turnaround. Healthcare facilities are forced into clinical decision-making processes which focus on reimbursement. While profitable in the short term, these processes often focus on minimizing time and maximizing profit and can leave the end-user hanging by a rope.
Additionally, end-users are constantly bombarded by a plethora of the ‘latest and greatest’ apps and devices and there is little tolerance for poor user interfaces. If a user is not happy with an app or device, he/she can shop around and find many similar options that will achieve their goals. Therefore, there is great need for understanding the ‘user experience’ and ‘usability’ of an app or device in order to maintain its viability in today’s market and provide the greatest patient care.
User experience “encompasses all aspect of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services and its products1.” Usability “assesses how easy user interfaces are to use2.” Usability often focuses upon five quality components: learnability, efficiency, memorability, errors and satisfaction. While related, user experience and usability are not one and the same. Incorporating usability research methods into the design and development or clinical decision-making processes can produce long-term viability both in the business and clinical realms. But how can usability be incorporated into the processes?
There are many usability research methods available. Understanding the differences between the methods and how to choose an effective method for a specific application can be overwhelming and seem complicated. However, even the smallest labs, clinics or start-ups can incorporate basic usability research methods to improve their processes. This course will introduce the concept of the user experience and provide an overview of the usability research methods available – diving deeper into interviews, observational studies and usability studies. Best practices for these methods will be presented. The course will conclude with a hands-on application to demonstrate and discuss how these methods can be incorporated into your design and development or clinical decision-making processes to provide a greater experience for your end-user and greater overall success for your business, lab or healthcare facility.
Distinguish between ‘the user experience’ and ‘usability’.
Describe the various usability research methods available and their application.
Define best practices for incorporating the appropriate usability research methods in your business, lab, or clinic.