Case Study "Watchman"

The concept study "Watchman" originated as a fictional, manufacturer-independent project. We utilized this innovative patient monitor to illustrate the typical process of developing a new product at Use-Lab.


During analysis, the features for a patient monitor were derived literature and expert reviews. In addition, the current technological and networking equipment as well as the dataflow were assessed. Subsequently, competition devices were displayed on a matrix of flexibility and design to determine a compromise between the two that would beat the competition in all aspects.

In a next step, the future use environment, in this case a hospital, was visited to determine specific use environments and user groups and assess their wishes with regards the product.

This was the final step of the first phase of the user-centered design process.

Conceptual design

The next phase was the draft phase. Our designers created more or less detailed designs, taking into account the knowledge gained about use environments, processes and the needs of nurses and physicians. Questions about technical and ergonomic aspects were illuminated: Does the user need a mount for the OR-table? Can the user read the screen from their workplace? Is it feasible to implement a plug-in system consisting of individual modules? How well can we balance safety and comfort?

To conclude the draft phase, the designs were presented to nurses and physicians as low-fi prototypes. This provided valuable feedback and ensured the involvement of the user throughout the development process.

Detailed design

Before transitioning to high-fidelity prototypes and the final product, designs and interactions were displayed in intricate, realistic visualizations, which were reviewed by experts and potential users with respect to their safety, usability and, of course, aesthetics and perceived usefulness. These visualizations were 3D-printed as high-fidelity prototypes to provide hands-on experiences with the product.

Usability evaluation

The final step of the user-centered design process of the patient monitor was comprised of a conclusive summative usability evaluation. Use-Lab had a number of tasks during this activity - creating an evaluation plan based on use scenarios, recruiting nurses and physicians as participants, setting up a realistic test environment and moderating and evaluating the individual sessions. To gain a comprehensive picture of the usability and other important characteristics of the novel patient monitor, Use-Lab employed a number of methods (so called "method-triangulation"). Of course, Use-Lab also took care of all documentation efforts and the presentation of the results.

Finally, through the user-centered design process, we were able to design an effective and safe product, which caters to its users' expectations and can easily be integrated into the hospital environment.