Meet my HUBBI: he's an expert in eHealth usability
Marijke Broekhuis is a PhD student in the research group Biomedical Signals and Systems. Supervisor is prof.dr.ir. H.J. Hermens from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science and co-supervisor is dr. L.S. van Velsen from the Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences.
Establishing proper usability is like finding the right person to marry. You want a person that is compatible with you. Someone who acknowledges your needs, you enjoy being around with, you easily get along with, and ‘fits’ within your world of people you hold dear. With usability, it is not that much different. The system should be compatible with its intended users by addressing their needs, making sure that they like to use the system, making it easy to use the system and fitting the system within the intended use context.
During its 40 years of existence in the field of human-computer interaction, the concept of usability has been narrowed down, broadened and evaluated with qualitative and quantitative methods. This was all done to better specify the usability concept and create instruments to identify usability issues and evaluate usability of technology. But this process has not been aligned with technological innovations. The result? Usability has become an important concept to consider during development processes of technology, including eHealth. However, little attention has been given to updating the concept of usability to (1) accommodate the new innovative possibilities of modern-day technologies, and (2) to the manner in which we nowadays use technology – it is not an addition to the things we do, but has become an integral part of our live in the ways we work, relax, sport, communicate, receive care or manage our health. In this thesis, I focused on the latter two: how to (1) include usability within the development process of eHealth and (2) improve usability benchmarking for eHealth services. Within the second part, I describe the development and validation of a new usability benchmarking tool for eHealth: the eHealth UsaBility Benchmarking Instrument (HUBBI).