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Designing the User Interface for Health Care Settings. Kelly Hinds RN BN BA MBA Business Analyst – Momentum Healthware. At the end of this session you will have been introduced to: The principles and processes of user interface design How users and their tasks are identified

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designing the user interface for health care settings

Designing the User Interface for Health Care Settings

Kelly Hinds


Business Analyst – Momentum Healthware

learning objectives
At the end of this session you will have been introduced to:

The principles and processes of user interface design

How users and their tasks are identified

How to balance the concepts of doable, usable and likable in a health care setting

Learning Objectives
some definitions to start with
UI - User Interface

The communication between human and computer

An interface enables a user to interact with a system to perform a task. For example:

website navigation (hyperlinks, search tools, etc.) enables a user to find content

a shopping cart/basket system enables goods to be ordered

the formatting palette in Microsoft Word enables a user to change text colour, size, font, etc.

Some Definitions to Start With…
some definitions to start with1
GUI – Graphical user interface

A GUI allows a user to interact with a computer without entering code

With the combination of an input device (such as a mouse or stylus) and visual representations of the workspace and tasks, the user is able to interact with the computer in a manner similar to the physical manipulations available in the real world.

Some Definitions to Start With…
In 1973, researchers at Xerox’s Paulo Alto Research Centre (PARC) were the first to experiment with the key components of the GUI:

a mouse

bitmap display (graphic image)

graphical windows

Combining these elements allowed a user to interact with the computer without translating the user’s request into machine code.

An interface may combine a number of types of sensory cues:

visual/graphic: text (labels); shape, colour and size; spatial cues such as beveling and shadows to indicate ‘click-ability’; icons; change when moused-over; etc.

aural: speech, beeps, clicks, etc.

tactile (touch)

An effective interface combines the available, contextually-appropriate sensory cues to:

inform users of the task the interface can be used to complete

provide feedback (in response to interaction) to confirm task status (often referred to as closure).

Perceived affordance

Does the user perceive that clicking on that object is a meaningful, useful action, with a known outcome? (Where ‘object’ is an interface element, such as a button, checkbox or hyperlink.)

The designer cares more about what actions the user perceives to be possible than what is true.


Usability is a measure of the quality of a person’s experience in interacting with content or services.

Ease of learning

How fast can a user who has never seen the user interface before learn it sufficiently well to accomplish basic tasks?

Efficiency of use

Once an experienced user has learned to use the system, how fast can he or she accomplish tasks?


If a user has used the system before, can he or she remember enough to use it effectively the next time or does the user have to start over again learning everything?

Error frequency and severity

How often do users make errors while using the system, how serious are these errors, and how do users recover from these errors?

Subjective satisfaction

How much does the user like using the system

Why do we care about UI?
  • User Acceptance model (F.D. Davis 1989)

Perceived Ease of Use

Actual Use

Intention to Use

Perceived Usefulness

Why do we care about UI?
  • User Participation Model (Venkatesh et al, 2003)

Individual reactions

to using technology

Intentions to

use technology

Actual Use of

Information Technology

The Key Design Concepts
  • User-centred – the interface has to match the users, their tasks, priorities and environment
  • All UI design is a compromise between:
    • Doable
      • Can we do it the way it was designed
    • Usable
      • Does it do the job
    • Likeable
      • What does the intended user think of it
  • Subtle evolution
    • Change a little at a time
Design Phase of Development
  • Business Requirements
    • What are the goals of the system
  • Functional Specifications
    • What are the actual tasks the system needs to do
  • Audience Analysis
    • Computer Literacy Levels and Need
      • Novice, Intermediate, Expert
      • (handout)
Nurses’ Attitudes Towards Computers

(Brumini et al 2005)

No difference in regards to gender

Nurses younger than 30 had significantly more positive score than older nurses

Nurses with a bachelor’s degree had a more positive score

Nurses with computer science education had a more positive score

Nurses who attended classes in medical informatics during their formal education had a significantly more positive score

Nurses with previous computer training had significantly more positive score with users who did not use computers scoring less than nurses using computers at home

Nurses using computers for any purpose (work, education, pleasure, communication) also related to a higher attitude towards computers

Interface design needs to take into account:


the situation in which an interface is to be used


the task(s) the user will complete using the interface


how a task is broken down into meaningful stages and sequences

interface conventions

sensory cues and interaction models likely to be known by the user

Health Care Triad (McLeod and Clark, 2007)
  • Physician
    • Interpretive data source
    • Role may be primary or secondary
    • Use may be voluntary or involuntary
  • Clinician
    • Diagnostic data source, value added
    • Usually intermediary role, may be interpretive
    • Involuntary use, usually as a condition of employment
  • Patient
    • Always data source
    • Role may be active or passive
    • Use typically voluntary, compelled by disease, family, law
Example of a healthcare stakeholder analysis (McLeod and Clark, 2007)





IT Use

Design Phase of Development
  • User’s goals, tasks, work strategies, tools, problems, wants, needs
  • Preliminary Design
    • Task Flow
  • Style Guide
  • Detailed Design
  • Usability Testing
    • Mock-ups and “Vapor Ware”
General Design Guidelines
  • Simplicity
    • Basic functions are immediately apparent
    • Let’s users accomplish their tasks with a minimum of objects and actions
  • Consistency
    • Being able to anticipate how something will work
    • Standardizing the interface
  • Transparency
    • The design should tell you how it works
    • Recognition
General Design Guidelines
  • Feedback
    • Provide an immediate response to every single action
    • Keep users informed of progress
  • Forgiveness
    • Give an explicit explanation and constructive advice
    • Can mistakes be corrected?
  • User Control and Flexibility
    • Shortcuts
    • Defaults
Design Guidelines - Navigation
  • “Three Click Rule” of Navigation
    • Every piece of content should take no more than three clicks to access
  • Avoid “Mystery Meat” navigation
    • Navigation controls that are unmarked until the user moves the mouse over them
  • Fitt’s Law
    • The farther the person has to move the mouse, to get to an object, the more effort it will take to get to
    • The smaller an object is, the harder it will be to click on.
    • Top, bottom and the sides of the screen are the most targetable
Design Guidelines – Screen Layout
  • Semantic Order
    • What you should read first
  • Perceptual Order
    • What you perceive as first
  • The F shape
    • We tend to read the top row from left to right, then the left side column, then across once more.
    • Because of this concept, the most important information should be on top and navigation on the left hand side
Design Guidelines – Screen Layout
  • “Chunk” the Data
    • Group similar type of data together
    • By type verses by use by a particular role
  • Icons
    • Are they universally understood by all users
    • Healthcare has several unique icons and images
  • Colour
    • Must have meaning in the setting
    • Colour “codes” DO NOT have universal meaning in the healthcare setting