Use-Lab Usability Testing

Usability evaluation

"Usability evaluation" is the generic term for a number of different methods we use to investigate whether and to which extent a product is usable. Use-Lab covers most of these instruments:

  • Consultancy on the best methods. For example:
    • Formative and summative usability testing in simulated/real user environments
    • Field observation
    • Open or (semi-)structured user interviews
    • Focus group discussions
    • Expert reviews with or without user surveys
    • Comparisons and functional analysis of medical devices (benchmarking)
    • Production of prototypes
    • Cognitive walkthrough
    • Context analysis / Task analysis / Functional analysis
    • Artifact walkthrough
  • Planning of the test procedure for tests carried out in Germany and abroad
  • Preparation of test documents (for example: test plan, test report) in accordance with IEC 62366-1:2015 (or the older standard IEC 62366:2007)
  • Recruitment of test participants in Germany and abroad
  • Usability testing
  • Audiovisual documentation of tests
  • Organization of a framework program for client visits during tests

Usual procedure

Usability tests in a simulated environment and focus group discussions are methods frequently used by Use-Lab. It is often advisable to combine elements from different methods. In preliminary talks, therefore, we clarify with our clients which options make sense and how they can contribute towards the optimum realization of the project.

This way, we are able to detect weaknesses and problems in the initial stage: During product verifications, for example, we carry out formative tests or expert reviews with early prototypes. We then derive concrete optimization approaches for the further product development from the assessment of the compiled data.

According to IEC 62366-1:2015 (and the previous version of the standard IEC 62366:2007) each medical device to be launched requires a usability validation in summative tests with typical user groups.

Selection of target group

Test persons are representatives of the target group – i.e., potential future users of the product. Use-Lab selects such users in accordance with clients’ specific criteria, and invites them to participate in the test. Test persons can either be recruited by Use-Lab or the client.

Flexible facilities

Tests can either be carried out in our usability laboratory or at the client’s (or their partners’) facilities. Use-Lab’s test rooms can be adjusted to all kinds of use situations in terms of their (technical) equipment and design. Furthermore, our clients can watch the tests live through semi-reflective glass from a separate observation room.

Test procedure

During a usability test, participants are asked to solve tasks typical to their everyday working lives: One focal point is, for example, the use of frequently used and safety-relevant functions of the medical device. The users, who are questioned and asked to think aloud, are observed closely during the test. Digital audio/video recordings of the tests can be made and given to our clients for further assessment, at their request.

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