Improving healthcare system usability without real users: A semi-parallel design approach

Farath Arshad, Nonso Nnamoko, James Wilson, Bibhas Roy, Mark Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes an early stage usability study conducted on a prototype system designed to capture and analyse Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) activities. The system - PROMS 2.0, was developed by Bluespier for the trauma and orthopaedic department in Trafford Hospital, Manchester, United Kingdom (UK). The Centre for Health and Social Care Informatics (CHaSCI), Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) examined the system without real users, identified potential usability issues and suggested possible solutions for improvements before final release by Bluespier. Three different approaches were adopted for evaluating user interface (UI) design without users. The first approach is the Cognitive Walkthrough (CW), a task-oriented technique capable of identifying issues through action sequence required to perform a task. The second approach is action analysis which predicts the time a skilled user would need to perform a task. The third approach is heuristic evaluation which tends to identify problems based on recognised standards. Results support the argument from relevant cognitive psychology theories and user-centric design principles that UI evaluation without real users is a useful tool in yielding rapid output for subsequent enhancement. It is concluded that semi-parallel design concept could be the key to timely delivery of software design projects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-81
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Healthcare Information Systems and Informatics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Action analysis
  • Cognitive walk-through
  • Evaluation
  • Heuristic evaluation
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Proms 2.0
  • U.I.
  • User interface


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