Usability challenges that faced during implementation of HIT system

HIT Usability and Design Challenges

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Usability challenges that faced during implementation of HIT system

As a clinical administrator tasked with implementing, the case study given on new health information technology system, I faced a number of challenges during implementation process. The challenges include sophisticated user interface that is harder for users to understand, ineffective use of on-line help with context searching of different topics and poorly designed command menu structure that did not take into an account the use of short cut keys for experienced users. The system also lacked the aspect of user friendliness in terms of design skills, design terminology used as well as lack of consistency in menu design. Another usability challenge was lack of simpler and quick way to navigate between documents.

Factors that caused the challenges

The factors that led to the above challenges include poor human computer interaction (HCI), human factors, failure to include users in the development stages, concerns experienced during implementation and design failure. The main cause of nearly all problems in this case is the failure to include users of the system in the development process. This led to lack of straight forwardness in the implementation process. The users’ opinions can be very significant in all stages of implementation process especially at the design and testing stages. Since no user opinion was considered in this case, the result was a system that is not user friendly to health staff users.

Another important cause is the human factors which can be summarized into display and control. The display factor is where device like computer screen provides the user with information when needed. The final system was found to have very poor display to the individual users. The control part of human factors involves the use of devices such as keyboard or mouse to allow an individual or user to take an action. This was partially possible since menus were designed without considering short cut commands that permits communication with the keyboard.

Another cause is the poor aspects of human computer interaction. In this case, the human computer interaction (HCI) part of the system lacks significant principles such as consistency, predictability, satisfaction, and simplicity among many others that enhances user friendliness of the system. Poor interface design leads to lack of consistency especially in menus which varied from the expected standard and type of menu commands that are inherent in variety of applications. The complexity in the use of hard to remember commands and other features compromises the HCI principle of simplicity. The fact that the system is harder to understand by users makes it hard for them to predict how the system is likely to respond while executing a given command. As a result, users lack satisfaction with the total system. It should therefore be noted that all the challenges originated from two main factors namely, user absence in the implementation process a as well as in the design aspect.

It is thus safe to say that the challenges experience were as a result of design issues. The absence of users during the development cycle implies that the total system design was made without any opinion of the user. In other words, the design was not user centered. All the flaws that existed in the design were thus carried forward up to the final implementation stage. This is because, the final product implemented should be the exact blue print of the design.

Strategies for overcoming these usability challenges

The first strategy is to ensure that users are involved at all stages of development cycle right from the requirements acquisition, analysis, design, coding, and testing and implementation stages. This will ensure that users are well familiar with the system and its features. As a result, the system is likely to be user friendly to them even if it may contain some complexities and other problems. Second is that good user training should be conducted during and after implementation to make them more acquainted with the system. Third is to ensure that HCI design principles are applied in the design process of system interface for better simplicity, consistency, and user friendliness among others. Last but not least, the development team should strictly follow the system development stages straight forward from the start to the end without overlooking any phase.

References

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