World Usability Day: Exploring “Good and Evil” in Design

On November 8, we celebrated World Usability Day by engaging with some excellent design professionals and talking about the apparent discord between user-driven product development and financial influences in the medical world.

We presented our talk, Do No Harm (Unless That’s Expensive), at PhillyCHI’s celebration, which was structured around the theme of “Design for Good or Evil”. In our presentation, we discussed how healthcare providers’ ideals are often tested by institutional financial restrictions and poorly designed systems that force practitioners to see patients as data points rather than people.

As user researchers our job is to make sure that the user (healthcare provider) is heard without compromising clinical benefit and financial viability. We need to understand how these elements interconnect and identify the proper balance. By presenting the whole picture, the user researcher can represent the physician’s voice and compensate for their (much appreciated) focus on the patient. The challenge is to anticipate how a poor user experience can lead to poor clinical outcomes and poor financial implications for a hospital system and provide actionable solutions that don’t break the bank—or the patient.

And, in the end, we proposed four methods to help user researchers positively affect the way that decision-makers give value to the user experience in the expense equation.

Thanks to PhillyCHI for curating the set of thought-provoking talks and Bresslergroup for hosting the event.