At Design Science, we are passionate about bringing our expertise to bear not only in the work that we produce, but also by acting as thought leaders to improve the larger field of product-design research.

We’ve been around since the beginning. Design Science’s founder Stephen B. Wilcox is a pioneer in the industry and has been an active contributor for over 30 years.

We bring a distinctively comprehensive perspective. Design Science’s interdisciplinary team is uniquely able to speak to all aspects of the product development spectrum, including human factors and design best practices, utilizing innovative research technology, and more.

Check out some of our publications below:

Development and Usability of a New Subcutaneous Auto-Injector Device to Administer Hydroxyprogesterone Caproate to Reduce the Risk of Recurrent Preterm Birth

Michael N Travanty, Bryon Calawa, Waleed S Shalaby, Michael J Jozwiakowski, Kyle B Haraldsen
Medial Devices: Evidence and Research, July 28, 2018.

This article chronicles the design of an auto-injector for subcutaneous administration of hydroxyprogesterone caproate and the results of studies that evaluated the target user’s understanding of the proper use of this device.

Investigating the Effect of Simulator Functional Fidelity and Personalized Feedback on Central Venous Catheterization Training

Mary Yovanoff, Hong-En Chen, David Pepley, Katelin Mirkin, Jason Moore, David Han and Scarlett Miller
Journal of Surgical Education, March 2018.

The paper discusses the results of study conducted with medical residents during their first year of residency. Half the residents were trained to place central venous catheters using standard manikin training and half of the residents were trained using a DHRT (Dynamic Haptic Robotic Trainer). The results showed that simulation training with the DHRT system and the personalized learning feedback can improve resident self-efficacy with IJ CVC procedures and provide sufficient feedback to allow residents to accurately assess their own performance.

Eye Tracking For Better User Interfaces

Larry McGrath
Med Device Online, March 12, 2018.

Although many believe that the appeal of eye tracking is to glimpse inside observers’ perceptions, the technology’s actual capacities are modest; they depend on the methods in researchers’ toolkits. In this article, I offer some suggestions for gradually building up eye-tracking methods, in stages, to generate informative data for optimizing user interfaces.

Personalized Learning in Medical Education: Designing a User Interface for a Dynamic Haptic Robotic Trainer for Central Venous Catheterization

Mary Yovanoff, David Pepley, Katelin Mirkin, Jason Moore, David Han and Scarlett Miller
HFES Annual Meeting, October 9-13, 2017, San Antonio, TX.

This paper discusses the process of developing a Graphical User Interface for a robotic training system used to train medical residents in the placement of central venous catheters. A 2-part study was conducted to: (1) systematically analyze the feedback given to 18 third year medical students by trained professionals to identify the items necessary for a personalized learning system and (2) develop and experimentally test the usability of the personalized learning interface within the DHRT (Dynamic Haptic Robotic Trainer) The results can be used to inform the design of VR and personalized learning systems within the medical community.

Five Qualities of a Good Use Risk Assessment

Bryon Calawa
Med Device Online, May 2, 2017.

Your use risk assessment can make or break your regulatory submission. Here are five qualities of an assessment that is on the path to success.

Introductions to the Quarterly Issues

Stephen B. Wilcox, PhD, FIDSA
Ergonomics in Design, 2016-2018.

Results of Human Factors Testing in a Novel Hemodialysis System Designed for Ease of Patient Use

Stephen B. Wilcox, PhD, FIDSA; Michelle Carver; May Yau; Peter Sneeringer, MS; Sarah Prichard; Luis Alvarez; Glenn M. Chertow,
Hemodialysis International, 2016, 20, 643.

Improving Medical Education: Simulating Changes in Patient Anatomy Using Dynamic Haptic Feedback

Mary Yovanoff, David Pepley, Katelin Mirkin, Jason Moore, David Han and Scarlett Miller
HFES Annual Meeting, October 9-13, 2017, San Antonio, TX.

This paper reports the results of study where 3 groups of medical students were trained to perform a central venous catheterization. The results showed that there were no significant differences in learning or performance for students trained using manikins versus a virtual simulation using the DHRT (Dynamic Haptic Robotic Trainer) versus a combination of both.

Contextual Inquiry as a Tool for Medical-Device Development: The Case of Harmonic Focus

Stephen B. Wilcox, PhD, FIDSA; edited by Elsivier M. Privitera,
Contextual Inquiry for Medical Device Development, 2015.

Framing the Problem

Stephen B. Wilcox, PhD, FIDSA; edited by N. Nixon, Fairchild.
Strategic Design Thinking, 2015.

Future Visions of the User Experience in the Medical Arena

Stephen B. Wilcox, PhD, FIDSA
Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society’s 58th Annual Meeting, 2014, 421.

Ethnographic Field Research for Medical-Device Design

Stephen B. Wilcox, PhD, FIDSA
Biomedical Instrumentation and Technology, 2012, March/April, 117.


Stephen B. Wilcox, PhD, FIDSA; edited by M. Weinger, D. Garner-Bonneau, and M. Wiklund. New York: Taylor & Francis.
Handbook of Human Factors in Medical Device Design, 2012.


Stephen B. Wilcox, PhD, FIDSA; edited by M. Weinger, D. Garner-Bonneau, and M. Wiklund. New York: Taylor & Francis.
Handbook of Human Factors in Medical Device Design, 2012.

Using Ethnographic Research to Develop Inclusive Products

Stephen B. Wilcox, PhD, FIDSA; edited by J. Winters and M. Story. New York: Taylor & Francis.
Accessibility and Usability for Medical Instrumentation, 2006.

Remote Interaction

Callahan, E., and Stephen B. Wilcox, PhD, FIDSA; edited by J. Clarkson, R. Coleman, S. Keates, and C. Lebbon. London: Springer.
Inclusive Design: Design for the Whole Population, 2003.


Stephen B. Wilcox, PhD, FIDSA; A. Tilley. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
The Measure of Man and Woman: Human Factors in Design, Revised Edition, 2002.

Human Factors Results for Fentanyl Iontophoretic Transdermal System (ITS) With Enhanced Controller for Postoperative Pain Management

Stephen B. Wilcox, PhD, FIDSA; Peter Sneeringer, MS; Diane Santangelo, ANP-C; Christopher R. Page, MD; Hassan Danesi, MD; James B. Jones, MD; Nitin Joshi, PhD; and J. Bradley Phipps, PhD
American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses (ASPAN)

How successfully can users—ranging from health care professionals to patients—use the fentanyl iontophoretic transdermal system (ITS)? This analysis presents the results of summative usability evaluations, including behavioral and subjective evaluations.

Root Cause Analysis: Adventures in Medical Device Usability

Stephen B. Wilcox, PhD, FIDSA and Peter Sneeringer, MS
MD+DI Device Talk

The most important data generated when conducting usability testing with prototype medical devices are use errors. Potential users “use” prototype medical devices in simulated form. They make errors. Those errors, in turn, have causes. Identifying the causes is the key to eliminating the errors.

The Benefits of Applying Human Factors Engineering

Stephen B. Wilcox, PhD, FIDSA and Michael Wiklund

Is the awakening over? Has the medical industry finally come to embrace the benefits of human factors engineering, arguably decades after the aviation, military and consumer product industries did so? Let’s give the medical industry the benefit of the doubt and say yes.

The Problem with Transparency is it’s not Conspicuous Enough

Stephen B. Wilcox, PhD, FIDSA
ACM Interactions

Much of what human beings do involves the loss of awareness of the tools they are using, and this loss of awareness, associated with the development of skill, is generally a good thing.

Implications of the New Food and Drug Administration Draft Guidance on Human Factors Engineering for Diabetes Device Manufacturers

Stephen B. Wilcox, PhD, FIDSA and Daniel Drucker, PhD
Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology

This article discusses the implications of the new Food and Drug Administration’s draft guidance on human factors and usability engineering for the development of diabetes-related devices.

Auditory Alarm Signals

Stephen B. Wilcox, PhD, FIDSA

From a human factors point of view, the prevalence of alarm signals that don’t require action (not just “false alarms”) undermines one thing that we know how to do well—create an alarm signal that is detectable.

Ethnographic Research and the Problem of Validity

Stephen B. Wilcox, PhD, FIDSA

Used correctly, ethnographic research can provide hard data for guiding a device company’s business decisions.

High-Stakes Design

Stephen B. Wilcox, PhD, FIDSA

It’s easier to focus your attention when a design mistake has a high probability of killing somebody or—from the opposite point of view—when your good design has the opportunity of saving hundreds or thousands of lives.

Eight Ways to Kill Innovation

Stephen B. Wilcox, PhD, FIDSA

Medical device manufacturers are supposed to thrive on change. Why, then, do so many of them make innovation difficult?

Applying Universal Design to Medical Devices

Stephen B. Wilcox, PhD, FIDSA

As more and more complex medical devices are being operated at home, manufacturers need to develop them with disabled users in mind.

Ethnographic Methods for New Product Development

Stephen B. Wilcox, PhD, FIDSA and William J. Reese

Product developers who observe end-users’ behavior in the actual environment of use generate tangible, workable information about a device—and the requirements of the people who use it.