Another installment in my discussion of user experience design in health care.
The child’s drawing in this article (see link to “The Cost of Technology” ) is a fantastic visual commentary, not just on health care UX, but on many many types of system user experience challenges. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/data/Journals/JAMA/24244/jpo120008_2497_2498.pdf
Fifteen years ago I was working on a computer system to be used by a major airplane manufacturer in the course of meeting with airlines purchasing commercial airplanes. The dynamics were quite interesting and challenging.
A commercial airplane is the most complex machine ever built by mankind. A customer paying over a hundred million dollars for a product expects to get it the way they want it. Working through its configuration with all of the options and interdependencies is a very complicated process. The social dynamics of a room full of customers and sales engineers all working through screens filled with searches, search results, data entry, compatibility messages, feature descriptions, and recommendations is a very challenging scenario to support.
The comment that sticks in my mind as we usability tested many variations of designs is from one of the sales engineers. He said, “When I look here”, pointing at the screen, “I leave them” referring to his customers. Maintaining focus on the customer while using a computer was the most challenging aspect of this application.
I spent the next several years after that designing systems for customer call centers, then for ecommerce. The goal of maintaining focus on the customer remains the make or break factor in all of them. Succeeding in this is the mark of a great design. A lot has been learned over the past decade or two about how to do this. Why has so little of this knowledge seeped into health care system user interface design? How can we help this important field to catch up?