MSU UARC is shutting down effective June 30, 2021. We are no longer taking on new projects.


Morning Sessions (Concurrent)

Session A

Designing Usable Healthcare Web Applications

Jason Withrow, Business Analyst, University of Michigan Health System; Faculty, Washtenaw Community College

Healthcare applications face a variety of interesting usability challenges. Multiple groups with diverse roles access the application; each has its own needs, goals, and tasks. In fast-paced work environments, optimizing task efficiency is vital. Likewise, there is a need to present a great deal of information in a way that is readable, scannable, and scalable.

Best practices for addressing each of these challenges will be presented, as well as strategies and recommendations for dealing with other usability concerns that arise in healthcare.

Session B

Winning with Usable Software in Life Science Research

Richard Sheridan, President, Menlo Innovations, and Jennifer Baird, President and CEO, Accuri Cytometers

To succeed in helping advance cellular research, the team at Accuri Cytometers™ knew they needed software that makes flow cytometry accessible to everyone. A three-year design and development collaboration between Accuri and Menlo Innovations has produced a unique capability in the world of cell analysis applications. Join Jen Baird (CEO, Accuri Cytometers) and Rich Sheridan (President, Menlo Innovations) to learn why usability was so critical to Accuri's commercial success, how Menlo's High-Tech Anthropology® methods engaged the end-user community, and the five key success factors that enabled this productive collaboration.

Afternoon Sessions

Session 1

Healthcare Usability—Code Blue!

Shane Lovellette, User Experience Products Manager, TechSmith Corporation

Imagine that your doctor has prescribed the wrong medication for you. What if you were allergic to this medicine? The results could be disastrous or even fatal. Seem unlikely? Not according to a recent study that found that doctors had difficulty specifying medications due to usability flaws with a user interface. In fact, 31% of the respondents indicated these problems occurred a few times per week.

Usability in healthcare is extremely important, yet is not fully recognized. The good news is that awareness is growing. This presentation explores specific case studies that demonstrate how healthcare companies are improving usability. The case studies show the methods, challenges, and results from organizations that are responding to the code blue medical emergency call.

Session 2

Patient Safety and Usability: Experiences in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Janine A. Purcell, Cognitive Engineer, VHA Bar Code Resource Office

The 1999 Institute of Medicine report To Err is Human estimated that between 44,000 and 98,000 inpatient deaths occur annually in the U.S. due to patient safety errors, with a related cost of $17 – 29 billion. In that same year, VA formed the National Center for Patient Safety, an organization that continues to promote a culture of safety throughout a healthcare system that served 5.5 million patients in 2006.

VA's Veterans Health Administration has been a leader in the systems-based approach to reducing patient harm. Patient safety efforts in VA aim to build fault tolerant systems that reduce the likelihood of patient harm. This presentation introduces the patient safety movement and three supporting initiatives within VA: The National Center for Patient Safety (NCPS), the Office of Information Patient Safety Program, and the Bar Code Resource Office. This presentation includes examples of the usability and human factors-based tactics aimed at decreasing harm to patients in the VA healthcare system.

Session 3

Codeless QA Testing: A Revolution in the Automated Testing Tool Market

Sumanth Muthyala, Usability Engineer-Technical Lead, Ergin Salih, TestPartner Development Team Lead, and Jim Brennan, TestPartner Product Manager, Compuware Corporation

Compuware saw a market opportunity if they could somehow enable non-technical business users to participate in the quality assurance (QA) testing part of software development. The product at the time offered tremendous power and flexibility to QA testing teams responsible for functional/regression testing of applications with extensive knowledge in writing code, but dramatic changes would be needed to simplify the user experience in order to attract this broader demographic and allow them to achieve success as well. This presentation shows the original technical product and tracks its evolution from initial concept through final design. Even if you have never conducted QA testing, you will experience how a product can make a dramatic improvement in a single release.

Session 4

Making Sense out of Health Insurance Benefits Selection: Case Study with a Web Tool

Laurie Kantner, Vice President of Client Services, Tec-Ed, Inc.

Company employees have traditionally struggled to understand the health insurance benefits that are packaged and given to them by their employers and insurance carriers. Recent trends have only added to this struggle by presenting employees with a number of plans and options from which to choose. Recognizing this challenge, Tec-Ed collaborated with researchers at the National Institutes of Health and the University of Michigan to evaluate and improve the usability of a Web-based collaborative health insurance benefits planning tool. This presentation showcases the challenges and improvements that occurred with each iterative testing cycle, and how the final application achieved a design that could be used successfully by a large number of employees.

Session 5

Designing for Older Adult Users of Web, Mobile, and Handheld Technologies

S. Ann Becker, Professor, Management Information Systems and Computer Science; Director, National Center for Small Business Information, Florida Institute of Technology

Technologies today provide an extraordinary opportunity to promote better living for the rapidly expanding older adult population. The Web has become a popular resource for older adults, 60 years and older, in supplementing traditional healthcare channels. Mobile and handheld technologies, together with Web technology, are emerging as important resources in the pursuit of both aging in place and quality of life initiatives. Through these technologies, older adults can stay connected to family and friends, take advantage of government services, access health information, and pursue lifelong learning, among other benefits. Unfortunately, older adults may encounter usability barriers which impede their everyday use of these technologies. Poorly designed interfaces and complex reading content may prevent older adults from utilizing these technologies. This talk addresses these issues. Older adults are profiled in terms of aging factors to be considered in the design of usable interfaces. Past research is discussed in relation to usability studies and design solutions. A novel interface design for handheld and mobile devices is shown. The broader impact of usability research is discussed from multiple perspectives, including government, student researchers, aging caregivers, and remote populations.