From usability engineering through IEC 62366-1 to GUI design: Here you can find answers to the key questions concerning the services offered by Use-Lab.

 

Who should I contact if I have a project inquiry?

Your project inquiries will be answered by Torsten Gruchmann and Anfried Borgert, who will give you qualified, individual advice. We will discuss all of the options for implementing your ideas with you. We will be happy to give you an individual quote after our first meeting.

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What is the difference between usability and ergonomics?

Ergonomics and usability have one goal: To develop a product according to the requirements of the user and to make the handling as easy and understandable as possible.

Ergonomics is the scientific umbrella that deals with the general optimization of a system – for example, a working process, working time, or the contents and scope of a working task.

Usability engineering goes beyond that: Here we examine and optimize product safety and user friendliness, enabling us to determine how well a user manages a particular device within a certain utilization context.

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What is the difference between usability engineering and human factors engineering?

Some experts use the terms human factors engineering (HFE) and usability engineering synonymously, whilst others differentiate between them. The latter perceive HFE to be, above all, the exploration of the user and the actual user interface design. Usability engineering is then considered to mean the evaluation of a user interface via usability objectives and usability tests.

Regardless of the terminology, both methods – and many similar methods – lead to the enhanced usability of a product. The central idea behind HFE is that common sense is usually not enough to create a user-friendly product. User friendliness is rather the result of applying HFE in the product development process.

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Do you also conduct usability tests outside of Germany?

Yes. Many projects are international – for instance, if requirements analyses or user studies are conducted in several countries. After all, to develop a product for the international market or to determine the extent of internationalization, it is essential to identify the differences between culture groups.

Our contacts at international partner companies, hospitals, native speakers and test facilities facilitate a specific and prompt project procedure. Here, we focus on Europe, the USA and Asia. Our network enables us to conduct studies both with international participants in Germany and to carry out tests abroad ourselves.

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How do you recruit test persons, can I become a test person?

Thanks to our many years of work in the field, we have contacts to users from all kinds of medical areas. We recruit users directly or with the aid of our clients’ contacts according to profiles developed for a specific project – incidentally, also internationally. Typical test persons include nursing staff, physicians and patients from university hospitals, private hospitals, medical specialists’ surgeries and nursing homes.

Potential test persons who are interested in actively taking part in the development of a medical device are asked to contact Claudia Geersen. We will then enter your data into our database and contact you as soon as an appropriate project comes up.

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Do you have experience in extensive, long-term projects?

Yes. We often accompany clients during the entire development process, spanning several years, giving them advice on usability in all the important project phases. We recommend the integration of typical users early in the development process to avoid expensive inappropriate developments.

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Can you develop user interfaces and produce interactive prototypes?

We create concepts for the graphical user interfaces of medical devices for embedded and computer software. Depending on the project phase, different prototypes are designed: for instance, paper prototypes or interactive flash simulations.

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Do you conduct usability studies only in the field of medical technology?

Yes. We conduct studies exclusively for medical devices. Our offers include all medical fields of application – including pharmaceutical products and home care and diagnostic devices. This specialization ensures the focused, effective examination of processes in clinical everyday life. Due to the ever-growing requirements and modifications in health care, our experience pays off directly for our clients.

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What facilities do you have to conduct usability tests?

Use-Lab has two main labs, one simulation area for OR and one for ICU. Since they are very well equipped with medical devices, we can simulate many different client-specific environments: From a simple living room for home care devices to labs, we can meet wishes flexibly.

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What advantages does an external usability service provider have?

Objectivity, for one: In the case of a long-lasting development, manufacturers sometimes lose sight of those who will work with the product in the future. The question of whether the user really understands or needs the concept is often obscured by other problems.

As an external service provider, we enable your development to be checked once again independently – eliminating potential safety-relevant and handling-related errors. It goes without saying that your data is kept strictly confidential.

Another advantage: Anonymity in case of requirements analyses, early concepts or prototypes.

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Can you support us regarding the approval of auxiliary devices?

Yes. We conduct the functional capability studies required for the approval of products in the directory of auxiliary devices. This concerns all auxiliary products that patients use themselves. Please feel free to contact Torsten Gruchmann regarding consultancy and the planning and execution of such a study.

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Does your portfolio also offer product design?

Yes. We will support you in the creative development of your concepts, realize them via CAD (SolidWorks, Rhino) and visualize them in illustrations, photo-realistic renderings or animations.

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Objectivity, despite development and evaluation from a single source?

The conceptual design and evaluation of the product are organized separately at Use-Lab: Each area is covered by a separate specialized department. In any case, the actual evaluation is usually carried out by users in usability tests. Our employees are merely observers and moderators.

For our clients, the combination of services has one key advantage: Since there are no long, complicated communication paths between the design and usability offices, no valuable information or details can get lost.

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Do you carry out certifications for medical devices? Do you create usability engineering files in accordance with IEC 60601-1-6 and IEC 62366?

Although Use-Lab is not a certifier, we can offer you consultation on the certification of your medical device in close cooperation with recognized certification bodies. If you have any questions concerning creating usability engineering files in accordance with IEC 60601-1-6 and IEC 62366:2007 resp. 62366-1:2015, please feel free to contact us. We will advise you individually on integrating the usability engineering process into product development, creating usability engineering files together with you.

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