Tuesday, September 25, 2007

World Usability Day's Healthcare Focus: Thoughts about health care user-experience design...

The theme of the 2007 World Usability Day is healthcare. This event aims to create awareness about the need for user-centered design within the health care system. Here is some information posted on UPA's World Usability Community blog:

"..."The importance of user-centered design in healthcare is truly about life and death” noted Elizabeth Rosenzweig, Founder and Director of World Usability Day. “Whether it’s new medical devices or technologies; drug research, approval or delivery; patient forms or medical record sharing; emergency disaster planning or increasing the functionality of hospitals and everyday healthcare delivery, everyone is effected in some way by the intersection of usability and healthcare. There are many commonalities, yet each region of the world faces its own set of unique challenges. We believe that focusing World Usability Day 2007 on healthcare will create a stronger awareness of these issues and lead to initiatives that have long term impact on the quality of everyone’s life".

Information about World Usability Day:

Usability and interaction with the health care system has become a personal interest of mine, as I've spent the better part of the past month assisting a close relative negotiate three hospital stays, a couple of surgeries, numerous medical tests, and visits to various medical professionals. This has been an eye-opening experience, as anyone who has followed a similar path would agree.

I propose that efforts to improve usability should consider using some of the strategies employed by user-experience designers, taking into consideration that the definition of "user" includes the patient/consumer, the patient's family and social support network, health care professionals, hospital and medical staff, health educators, researchers, and so forth.

When I have the chance, I'll post some of my observations and thoughts related to this topic.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Search for Researchers: Ubiquitous computing, large screen displays, touch screen displays & tables, and mobile devices

I am in the process of compiling list of links to researchers who are interested in off-the-desktop systems and applications that can seamlessly inter-operate with mobile and remote devices and systems, especially systems that include large-screen displays and touch-enabled tables or surfaces.

A variety of fields are involved in this area - interactive design, computer-supported collaborative work, embedded system design, industrial systems engineering, virtual reality, human factors, educational technology, mobile learning, computer & video game development, mobile computing, audio-visual media, new media, mobile marketing, GIS & geography/ geology, graphic design, computer music, interactive storytelling, etc. etc.

Here is a start:

Stacey D. Scott, Ph.D
Collaboration Technologies Researcher
University of Waterloo

Dr. Scott is the Program Co-Chair for Tabletop 2007 (IEEE Int'l) Workshop on Horizontal Interactive Human-Computer Systems, held on October 10-12, 2007 in Newport, R.I., in conjunction with UIST 2007 (ACM Symposium on User Interface Software & Technology)

The program for both conferences has a list of presenters and their topics, but no links.

Here are a few more links:

Desney Tan
Bill Buxton
Jeffery Han
Harry "Gravano" van der Veen
On the Tabletop(Stefano Baraldi)

Human-world Interaction from the Refrigerator? G.E.'s Future Concept

This video clip presents a future scenario of how technology can support "human-world" interaction through a system embedded in a kitchen, from G.E. Any comments?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Search phrases leading users to this blog...

I thought I'd post a list of recent search phrases readers use to find this blog:

The Trouble with Computers
advantages of technology to human
kyffin economist
usability professionals' association
interactive design
tech support comedy video
new interaction technology
world people interaction game
technology on human interaction
user support video clip
tara prakriya
Vista supported virtual worlds
tech comedy books
Video clip-technology of a book
video clip ancient help desk
adam greenfield

Putting People First blog from Experientia

I recently came accross the "Putting People First" blog when I was looking for information about usability and user-experience design. The blog focuses on "daily insights on user experience, experience design and people-centred innovation". The Putting People first blog is coordinated by Mark Vanderbeeken, from the experience-design company Experientia, located in Turin, Italy.

If you have an interest in user-centered design and related topics, take the time to explore the Putting People First blog, as well as the Experientia website.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Trends: New interfaces and new interactions for computing and technology: Link to an article from The Economist

If you are interested in emerging technologies, ubiquitous computing, interface/interaction design, and topics related to usability and user-centered design, a recent article in the Technology Quarterly of The Economist, "The Trouble with Computers" provides a good overview of problems and solutions. The article quotes experts such as Adam Greenfield, the author of "Everyware: The dawning age of ubiquitous computing".

My favorite quotes from the article:

"Its an interface designed by engineers for engineers" - Adam Greenfield, on the Nokia 6680 mobile phone.

"...computer programmers and engineers....are often guilty of designing complicated systems packed with too many features...There's a point where humanity just can't handle it." -Steven Kyffin, senior researcher at Philips.

"Ease of use is one area where technology firms can differentiate themselves and gain competitive advantage" --The Economist

"Making computers simpler to use will require more than novel input devices. Smarter software is needed, too." --The Economist

The article goes on to discuss touch screens, gesture-aware interfaces, and context-aware devices and applications.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Interaction Design: Link to post and resources

If you are interested designing applications for in off-the-desktop applications, take a look at a recent post on the Interactive Multimedia Technology blog. You'll find information and links about Dan Saffer's recent book, "Designing for Interaction: Creating Smart Applications and Clever Devices".

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Usability/Interaction Hall of Shame (In a Hospital)

As I go about my daily life, I make sure I have my digital camera close at hand, just in case I come across something to submit to the Usability Hall of Shame or Fame.

What were they thinking?

Here is an example of a user-unfriendly interactive touch-screen map on an information kiosk at a large hospital:

An information kiosk that looks like it was torn up by a frustrated hospital visitor:

Here is a picture of a hospital bed/TV remote control in my dad's hospital room. The TV channels could only scroll up, so if you were on Channel 6 and you wanted Channel 5, you had to go up through the remainder of the stations! If you hit a button, different hospital room lights would turn off and on without warning.

For more information about good (and bad) usability design, take a look at the World Usability Day 2007 website.

The following excerpt is from the "making life easy" website from World Usability Day 2006:

"Confusing cash machines, unclear signs, frustrating websites - poor usability is everywhere and it gets in the way of life. Sometimes it is just annoying. At other times it stops us doing what we need to do.

It can even be dangerous.

World Usability Day is an international event promoting the message that people have had enough of things that are hard to use."