Health Design & Technology Institute: Usability testing

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Why consider a usability study?

The community healthcare market is changing with purchasing power increasingly in the hands of the end user. Businesses need to ensure that their products and services are fit for purpose and attractive within the marketplace.

Usability studies can support this by providing an independent and ethically approved means of validating product performance or design by having it tested by a group of experts – the intended users. Feedback from the product’s intended audience, can both inform the future design and development of the product, and provide evidence to support marketing activity.

We have developed a free-to-use Toolkit to help guide you through the questions you should be asking yourself before undertaking user evaluations, and to support you in choosing the most appropriate evaluation method to use when conducting end user testing.

 

How is the study conducted?

Led and guided by an academic from within Coventry University and subject to the University’s ethics process, the study explores identified areas of interest with end users.

These may include a critique of:

  • the product’s design;
  • how easy it is to use;
  • aesthetics;
  • practicality;
  • acceptable price (for new products).

The study may take the form of:

  • focus groups;
  • interviews;
  • questionnaire-based studies;
  • field trials (product testing with end users over a period of time).

At the end of the study a report is produced which analyses feedback from the end users, providing a summary and a series of recommendations to inform the future product’s development and direction.

 

Funded support for West Midlands SMEs

A variety of funding schemes are available through HDTI. West Midlands SMEs (small to medium-sized enterprises) are eligible for up to five days of fully funded usability testing provided by the Assistive Technologies and Community Healthcare Development Project, supported by the European Regional Development Fund under Priority 1: Promoting Innovation and Research and Development. A range of other funding initiatives are also available.

How do I find out more?

For an initial discussion of your requirements, or to further explore the usability services provided by HDTI, please contact Sharon Simkiss at  sharon.simkiss@coventry.ac.uk

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