RAA: Care more about intended users rather than general public

RAA stands for: Research Article Analysis

Paper discussed:

Das, A., Faxvaag, A., & Svanas, D. (2011). Interaction design for cancer patients: do we need to take into account the effects of illness and medication? Proceedings of the 2011 annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 21-24. doi: 10.1145/1978942.1978946

1. Purpose of the research:

Examine cancer patients’ ability to use a patient-centered information system and their need for the system, in order to improve the usability of the next version of the system.

2. Methods:

One way to accomplish the research goal is to establish if there are significant differences in task performance between particular patient groups and average computer users. Authors proposed a hypothesis that the group of cancer patients would have significantly more difficulties using a web-based healthcare system compared to a control group of healthy individuals.

The study was set up as an observational case-control study with an experiment where cancer patients and healthy controls were observed while they conducted tasks by using a web-based healthcare system. Semi-structured interviews and questionnaires were used afterwards to collect additional information. The whole precess was captured on video and analyzed to evaluate the usability based on the definition of usability by ISO (effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction).

3. Main Findings:

Effectiveness: the cancer patients experienced more difficulties compared to the healthy controls for the entire task and for all its five subtasks (lower completion rate). Efficiency: measured “time on task” was not quite useful because cancer patients quickly gave up and was given assistance while healthy controls quickly finished the tasks, which led to similar time on task. Satisfaction: SUS score might be affected by cancer patients’ motivation to use the system.

In conclusion, authors claimed effectiveness is the main issue faced by cancer patients due to their impaired physical and cognitive ability. A patient-centered systems should be designed with the intended users in mind, rather than average, general public.

4. Analysis:

I will give 4 out of 5 points to this paper. Four points for its novel and sympathetic consideration towards the design of patient information system, as well as the clear-conveyed experiments. One point is lost for the relatively small size of sample and lack of in-depth suggestions about specific improvements should be made. For future study, research could be carried out to examine the exact problems that cancer patients face. Possible approaches could be eye-tracking experiments and think-aloud method, in the way that both objective and subjective descriptions could be gained.


8 thoughts on “RAA: Care more about intended users rather than general public

  1. Mihaela

    Excellent, excellent RAA!

    The article you picked is very interesting, and the point about designing for the intended rather than the general public is hugely important.

    Your evaluation of the article is spot-on.

    Nicely done! I can’t wait for your classmates to read this and to learn about this article.

  2. Pingback: Assignment: Research Article Analysis (RAA) « CGT 512

  3. Jing Chen

    This article is really interesting! And Emma you did a good job summarizing and analyzing it! Thanks for sharing this with us!

    I really like the ISO definition of usability and was glad to find it used in the analysis in this study!

    I am just curious about SUS score. Is it a index of satisfaction?

    1. Emma (Zhihua) Post author

      Thanks Jing, for reading and comments! And I know you like the ISO definition of usability! =)
      SUS is short for System Usability Scale, a 10 item scale giving global view of subjective assessments of usability. Yes, I think it is a method to measure satisfaction. You could find more details about SUS by googling a book chapter: SUS-A ‘quick and dirty’ usability scale.

  4. Dag Svanæs

    Hi Emma

    Thanks for the four points! We are very much aware of the problem with the low number of participants in the study. Concerning general design guidelines for this user group, I think a lot can be achieved by KISS design (Keep It Simple Stupid).

    Good luck with your blog

    Dag Svanæs

    1. Emma (Zhihua) Post author

      Hi Professor Svanæs,

      Thank you very much for your reply!!

      As a novice in interaction design, I am aware gradually that we will face a lot of practical problems in experiment designs. And yes, KISS design will be very useful in this circumstances. I really enjoy the vision you provided in this paper, which is an important guideline for us.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s